Summary from Goodreads:
There is more than one way to drown.
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. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?
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 Fathoms—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, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.
eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review is spoiler free.
Content warning: suicide, depression, mental illness, mentions of abuse
I am writing this review almost immediately after finishing the book, which is very odd for me. It also means that all of my feelings are very raw and unsorted through, but I feel like that is the type of review this book deserves? I feel like it poured a little bit of its heart into me and therefore I need to give it something in return. This book and I have a very complicated relationship. I went into it thinking that it was a little mermaid retelling and that it would be fun (per usual, I don’t read descriptions). In case you were wondering, I was very wrong.
This book was somber, heart breaking, hard hitting, and a bunch more adjectives I can’t think of at the moment. I loved this book. As I said earlier, I felt like it filled me up with so many positive feelings despite it’s somber content. However, I also had some problems with this book. It is a very interesting conundrum, but I will do my best to explain it below.
We’ll start with the positives and talk about what I loved about this book.
It kept me guessing. It isn’t often that I try and predict what happens in books, I don’t know why, I just don’t try and get ahead of what is happening in the actual story. With this one, however, I was sitting there thinking about who people really were and what was going to happen and things like that. I really loved how it kept me completely invested within the story.
I also absolutely loved all of the conversations about depression and how they affected people. I believe they could be triggering for some people, so I would recommend looking into other reviews before starting this one. I thought overall it did an excellent job of portraying mental health and how it is viewed – both positively and negatively. It also did a good job of showing how things get better after, they really do, and that everyone matters to someone.
The characters in this are also going to stay with me for a while. I feel like I can’t say much about them because a good bit of everything is spoiler-ish due to the way the story is written, but I love them. They were well developed, complex, and had realistic character arcs.
Now, there were also a few things I didn’t like, so I guess I will get that now.
There was a romance aspect to this book and I wasn’t a fan. First, I just felt like it wasn’t necessary in the slightest. Second, it just made me a little uncomfortable. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, I just feel like the pair could have been left as friends and it would have been completely fine.
I also didn’t like how it bounced back and forth in time. I understand why, it was basically the reason it kept me guessing so much, but it also lead to a lot of confusion. Once things were revealed at the end, I kind of sat around going ?? and had to spend a good bit of time putting things together. That could be the mark of a good book, but I wasn’t a big fan of it.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book (so please don’t think I didn’t because of the three star rating). It handled some tough topics very well and had very memorable characters, but as I said, if suicide or depressing is triggering to you, I would look into some other reviews before you start reading.