Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel (October 2012)*
You know what we need more books of? American fairy tales. I didn't even know we needed more until I read Sailor Twain, but we totally need more. Sailor Twain is the story of a young steam boat captain who, one dark night on the Hudson River, rescues an injured mermaid. He thinks he's just doing a good deed, but like all fairy tales, hero gets much more than he bargains for.
There is much to love about this book. The artwork, rendered in charcoals rather than clean ink, adds to the hazy fantasy. Is Captain Twain crazy, is he imagining things, or has he really met a mermaid? What happened to missing owner of the riverboat, a Frenchman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances? I hesitate to get more into the plot because much of the pleasure in reading this book is from watching the mystery of the mermaid unfold. But I loved that this fairy tale isn't some rehashing of Andersen or Grimm (this mermaid is closer to the Sirens of The Odyssey than to Ariel and her ilk) bu an original tale in the way that Neil Gaiman's American Gods speculates what happens when Old gods, spirits and creatures move to the New World.
Don't be fooled by the brief review. This is a great book for older teens and young adults, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
This review is cross posted at (Library Lass) Adventures in Reading. Check out my other reviews in all their rambly glory.
*Copy courtesy of NetGalley