Don’t Tell Him I’m A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick

On the 30th April 2020 the second title in the hilarious mermaid themed series from Laura Kirkpatrick was published by Egmont, and it is everything I had hoped it would be after reading and thoroughly enjoying the first title And then I turned into a Mermaid which published in May 2019.

Molly and her sisters adventure continues in this latest book in the series, having established much about them in the series’ debut title – look away now if you haven’t read the first title because I definitely recommend reading that instalment before this one, as you will learn more about the characters and their journey to date in doing so which enhances your overall reading experience. In the first book we are introduced to the Seabrook family who live in a lighthouse and work shifts in the fish & chip shop they own. As if that isn’t enough ocean related detail for one family we also find out that they have the ability to transform into Mermaids, something Molly learns on her 13th birthday.

Returning to Molly and family in this second book, we get to join Molly as she continues to grow up knowing that finding herself in the locality of large amounts of water will see her transform into a mermaid, something she has until now managed to keep a reasonably well kept secret. Whilst determining who she can and cannot rely on and trust as friends, and balancing attending school with working in the family shop, it is only when new students start that things start to take a strange yet interesting twist.

The brother and sister that start at Molly’s school have a vibe about them that Molly’s sister finds uncomfortable from the offset, but previous falling outs with her best friend mean Molly is keen to be accepted by others, and make new friends – even if it goes against advice from her mother, her sister and her gut feeling too! Molly is delighted to be invited to Serena and Finn’s house party, getting ready with her best friends before heading over and starting to realise she is developing feelings for a longtime male friend of hers. Whilst there things take a turn, and leave Molly vulnerable to her secret being discovered after all. Given that Molly has already gone through so much, and has managed to keep her secret safe – not even confiding in her closest friend – there are tense times as you follow the story and determine what’s in store for Molly, her friends, and the secret she has carried around with her since becoming a teen.

Readers of chapter books will enjoy the escapism on offer within these fantastic titles that allow them to imagine what it would be like if mermaids were hidden in amongst society, and the potential pitfalls they would face along the way. The stories are enjoyable through the lighthearted, humour fueled content of a family with a name, occupation and home that all tie in perfectly with the theme of these stories and their biggest secret. Reading about how Molly and her siblings manipulate their homes layout to their advantage in order to sneak out for late night swims whilst transformed as mermaids makes this every mermaid fans perfect read, and the characters being every day children with school work, siblings, chores and drama make them easy for readers to relate to and consequently immerse themselves in the adventure unfolding amongst the pages.

If you haven’t yet read the previous book by Laura then I thoroughly recommend you do so, as it is so nice to be able to offer mermaid related content to middle grader readers, especially as the quality of the text and the intended age audience ensure an appreciation for a feel good story with unique and appreciated storyline.

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