Author: Sara Ella
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Page Count: 384
My rating: 2 stars
About the book:
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid,” Coral explores mental health and what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.
Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease said to be carried by humans—emotions. Her sister had the Disease, and Red Tide took her away. Will it come for Coral next?
Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at a new group-therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?
Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?
When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
Coral by Sara Ella is a young adult fantasy that is a loosely based retelling of the Little Mermaid. This one is a rather dark version of the classic that comes with a long list of trigger warnings for readers including suicide, self-harm, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and unwanted/non-consensual advances.
The book begins with Coral, our mermaid, who is different than all the others around her. Corals fears she has contracted a deadly disease that her older sister once suffered from that comes from the humans, emotions. Then there’s Brooke, a girl from the human world who is in a group therapy home being treated for depression and anxiety. And then there’s Merrick, the rich golden boy who blames his controlling father for his sister’s suicide attempt.
I have to say my biggest issue with this title simply came from the style in which the author chose to tell the story. As you may see with my little summary or even the book’s own blurb we are tossed into three main characters very different storylines all at once changing the point of view between them which I felt was extremely confusing and hard to follow and get to know any one side. With subject matter like the ones in this book the haphazard back and forth was not letting me feel their emotions but instead wondering if I should take notes.
I hate being a negative Nelly but this one took me four days to finish as I kept putting it down when I can normally be a book or two a day reader. So while I can appreciate the creativity of being inspired by a classic and writing something completely new and also tackling very deep subjects I can’t honestly say I’d recommend this one unless one enjoys the style of feeling like you are reading multiple separate books only for them to eventually join together.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Sara Ella is the award-winning author of the Unblemished series and Coral, the upcoming reimagining of The Little Mermaid. She spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, raising her little prince to be a king, and conquering realms of her own imaginings with her swoony husband by her side. She may or may not be obsessed with #Bookstagram, which feeds her current addiction to bookish tea and candles. A lover of fairy tales, she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.” Connect with Sara online at SaraElla.com; Facebook: WritingHisTruth; Twitter: @SaraEllaWrites; Instagram: SaraEllaWrites; and YouTube: Sara Ella.