Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Supernatural
Publication.Date  July 21st 2011
Published By:  Razorbill/Penguin
WebsiteMandy Hubbard |

Ripple - Goodreads
My review copy:Provided by the publisher (thank you!)
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon      | Book Depository

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

Then I killed him. I drowned him in the ocean just a few hundred yards away from my sweet-sixteen party.
If there were thirty minutes of every day that I could strike out of existence, it would be lunchtime.
And I dread the dusk. The second the moon rises in the night sky, begins the pull on the tides, I'm drawn to the water.
He knows what I am and he still wants me.

     Ripple by Mandy Hubbard is definitely not your typical mermaid book. With it's unique take on sirens, dark and eerie atmosphere, and absolutely beautiful setting, Ripple is a YA book that really stands out. Add to this a curse, a secret, a forbidden love and an unexpected danger and you'll get a really great, gripping story.

     Lexi is a siren. Not a mermaid, a SIREN. She's not like Airel in The Little Mermaid. Her legs don't turn into a fin whenever she comes in contact with water - they simply get covered in slick fish scales. And she has to swim every night, otherwise the pain gets unbearable. Lexi doesn't sleep at all, instead every night she drives up to the mountains, to swim in a glacier-fed lake in the middle of dense woods. She used to swim in the ocean, but not anymore. Not since the day she drowned her boyfriend, Steven. See, the thing about sirens is... they're cursed. Not only cursed to swim every single night of their life (starting on their 16th birthday), but also cursed to kill any man who is unlucky enough to be around to witness them swimming. They can't control it. It's like an uncontainable euphoria taking over them and all of a sudden they need to swim and sing the deadliest song of all. And they won't stop until you're dead.

     But Lexi is not a bad person at all. She doesn't even understand why this is happening to her. No one ever explained anything, her mother committed suicide 6 years ago, leaving Lexi alone with her grandma. Not wanting to endanger anyone else, Lexi ostracized herself - always keeping the distance from everyone, making it clear to people around her that she doesn't want anything to do with them. But in the end the Ice Queen act is just that - an act. Deep inside she longs for a friend, for someone to be there for her. She aches for someone to love her. So when Steven's best friend, Cole, starts acting like he actually cares about Lexi, she's both ecstatic and terrified at the same time. Could she possibly try and for once in her life be happy with someone? Isn't it risking too much? Will she end up killing Cole, just like she did Steven? Things get even more complicated when the new guy in town, a mysterious pretty-boy named Erik, tells Lexi that he knows her secret and he also knows how to break her curse. All she needs to do is trust him completely and give up everything else...

     Now, I know this book has been getting plenty of mixed reviews and unfortunately, from what I've noticed on Goodreads, a lot of them are on the bad side. I can only speak for myself here, but I really, genuinely, thoroughly enjoyed this read. I'm not much of a fan of happy-go-lucky mermaid stories, where everything is sparkly and shiny, and sure there is a bit of drama, but only a tiny bit, so that we wouldn't get too scared! I say no to sparkly mermaids, just like I say no to sparkly vampires. And I really don't understand where all this criticism is coming from. Is it because you did indeed expect a beautiful half-fish with a pure heart and only good intentions? This was a good book. The plot was certainly well thought-out, the narration - flawless (no unnecessary shifts, everything clear and understandable, and I actually felt Lexi's pain and how hard it was for her to make the decision), the characters are quite unique and well-drawn... Plus there was this whole curse thing, that to me was just absolutely fascinating. A lot of mystery, tension, a strong narrative-pull. Some great nerve-wracking turns in the action! Even the love/romance (*cough* make-out *cough,cough*) scenes were top-notch - for once I didn't get a kissing scene dull as those in Korean dramas, where people appear to be kissing through glass - closed eyes and pursed lips mandatory. So, let me ask you again, what's the problem guys?

     I'm not saying this was THE most phenomenal novel I ever read. There was a couple of things that I didn't like. For instance, I wasn't quite fond of the way Lexi treated Cole - that was really sucky and I'm sure everyone who read this book will agree. But hey, let's think for a moment: what would I do, if I had a curse like that and all of a sudden some insanely handsome and sweet guy shows up at my doorstep and announces that he's the answer to all my problems? I'm not so sure if it's all that easy. In fact, I think Mandy Hubbard did a really great job showing Lexi's pain, doubts and struggle.

     And the best part of this book for me was it's atmosphere. Just the setting alone did a lot in that department: small town surrounded by deep, dark woods... beautiful ice-cold lake... ocean... I could visualize all of it and the way I pictured this place was very similar to the town from Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma - not a hot, colorful place, where all days are filled with sun, but rather a darker, cloudier, colder place - more on the eerie and mysterious side. And I totally bought it. Call me a sucker for everything dark, but yeah, I bought it all.

      Not to mention that FINALLY - a stand alone novel! Don't get me wrong, I do love all the fantastic series that are coming out right now, but with so many of them out there (and even more on the way!), it's getting so damn hard to keep up! For once I got a book that I could read, enjoy, put on the shelf and don't stress about when the next part will be out and if I'll even remember what the first one was about by the time I'll get my hands on it. THANK YOU for that!

      The bottom line is: If you liked Imaginary Girls you will probably like this novel, too. If you like Young Adult novels that are more on the darker, more serious side - GO FOR IT! I say: approach this book with an open-mind, don't expect happy and splashy mermaids - and who knows? This might be your next favorite read!


Kathy said...

This sounds awesome. I like darker books as well sometimes. This sounds like it has such a rich mythology.

I am going to add this to my quickly becoming out of control reading list.

Awesome review, and I am so glad you are back!

LoriStrongin said...

haha, I definitely agree that sometimes it's nice to just read a stand alone novel!

I'm one of those that's been temporarily turned off by the negative reviews, but you're review is definitely making me change my mind. Sirens definitely intrigue me, and I like the depth of character that Lexi has as you've described. So yup, this one's going back on the TBR pile!


the Vintage Bookworm said...

This sounds REALLY good! Thanks for the review! I'll definitely need to put this book higher up on my tbr list. =D

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Oh I love books with a good atmosphere. Great review :)

Cozy in Texas said...

Thanks for the review.

Rasberryswrlgirl said...

This is another one on my wishlist. Have you read Siren by Tricia Rayburn? They sound similar... you might like it if you haven't read it.

Evie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evie said...

Thanks so much for all the comments, lovely ladies :) I definitely recommend this read - it's perfect for cold, dark evenings with a cup of warm lemon tea! ;D ugh, just saying that makes me want to curl up on the couch and re-read this book!!!

Rasberryswirl -> I haven't read Siren yet! I saw it around recently and the cover is just WOW, I so want to get my hands on it :) I will definitely try to get my hands on it soon!

TayteH said...

I just got this book, and from the review, I think I'm going to cry. Seriously? She KILLED her boyfriend!? Stil want to read it thought. Thanks!

elenaromanin said...

I'm an italian follower :)
I love this blog, nice review ... I hope that this book will arrive in Italy

Stephanie said...

I came across this book a while back and was interested in it despite the fact I don't usually read mermaid books. I haven't seen a lot of reviews on people's blogs though so it was nice to read your reaction!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Can't believe that I've missed this book. Off to add to my wishlist.

Holly said...

I'm glad you liked it too. I was a little leery about reading it when I saw all the bad reviews on Goodreads, but I thought it was pretty good! Not the best book in the world, but better than what everyone else is saying.

Jaime Lester said...

I have never read a book about sirens before. I have read books about mermaids, and with one exception (Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown), they just haven't sat well with me. I know the difference between a mermaid and a siren, but I always assumed that the stories would be similar. I see now the error of my ways. This book sounds awesome, and I think I could sink my teeth into it. Thanks for your review.

AmelArmeliana said...

Loved Mandy Hubbard's books. Prada and Prejudice is one of my favorite. This one sounds great too. Must have a copy of this book.

Thank u for the review :)

Grace Lo said...

I have to say while Ripple isn't among my all time favourite books, it's definitely one of my more likeable mermaid/siren reads. Sirens in the story aren't one-hundred percent perfect, with an amazing life. They have these painful circumstances that make life very much unbearable, which made me think of the book as amazing.

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