Ren Yu is a swimmer. If she swims well enough, she will be scouted, get a scholarship, go to a good school. She will have a good life. But these are human concerns. Ren grew up on stories of creatures of the deep, of the oceans and the rivers. Ones that called sailors to their doom. Ones that dragged them down and drowned them. Ones that feasted on their flesh. Ones of the creature that she's always longed to become: mermaid.
A strikingly original coming-of-age story ... Full of contradictions, magnificently balancing and remarkably sustaining wonder with dread and magical realism with harsh reality, with a heartbreakingly beautiful and intensely uneasy tone, this is a story that will hold readers in its thrall.
Song’s form- and genre-blending book opens a brilliant portal into the sometimes-agonizing processes of coming-of-age and training as an elite athlete. Song is at her best when writing about the elaborate and sometimes agonizing experience of coming into one’s own power; one scene is so chillingly and effectively rendered it is difficult not to judge the rest of the novel by that standard. In comparison, the rest of the book, especially those parts that deal with teen drama, sometimes feel lackluster in comparison.