I decided to do one joint review for this two book series, keeping my comments vague enough to avoid spoilers for either novel so it's possible to read the entire two book review without spoiling either book.
I cannot say enough good things about Forgive My Fins, a book that often had me chuckling out loud while reading it and turning the page with eager enjoyment of the same kind I experienced when reading Stork by Wendy Delsol. The Fins and Stork series have a few things in common, both are inspired by myth and feature teenage girls, both are fairly clean reads, and both authors have an awesome sense of humour that is engaging but they also know when to take issues more seriously.
The characters definitely make this book, the sarcastic banter between Lily and her best friend Shannon, and especially her next door neighbour Quince, is hilarious and keeps Forgive My Fins flowing easily. In some ways, Forgive My Fins reminded me a bit of the film Aquamarine, because it was charming and light-hearted in comparison to many of the darker siren tales being published like The Lost Voices and Ripple. Even the followup, Fins Are Forever, although it does take on some more serious issues, still manages to maintain a light-hearted, if slightly angsty at times, voice.
Having fallen so deeply in love with Forgive My Fins (and QUINCE of course), a novel that ended with a definite hook (although it didn't have the kind of Massive Cliffhanger Ending (MCE) that I hate), I was incredibly excited to pick up the followup immediately afterward. Unfortunately, although it was a book I enjoyed, Fins Are Forever just didn't have quite the same, sparkle, as the previous book. Perhaps, having enjoyed the banter between Lily and Quince so much I was disappointed that it was basically absent from this book. In fact, Quince himself hardly makes an appearance and is instead replaced my several less complex and interesting characters such as a Royal Prince and Brody. Plus, a lot of the storyline is a repeat from the first book, albeit with slightly different results.
The ending of Fins Are Forever also let me down, things just wrapped up a little too perfectly. I'm definitely a fan of the happy ending, and I thought Lily deserved one, but maybe because both books take place over a short period of time- only about a month and a half- things just seemed to develop too perfectly to feel believable. Overall, I realize these are books about mermaids but a lot of the things Lily faces- trying to fit in, having a crush on somebody who doesn't notice you, living up to your parent's expectations- are those that other teens could easily relate to. I felt that even if the storyline of Fins Are Forever wasn't quite up to par, Childs definitely has a unique approach to taking on the struggle of teen life, in a way that is both hilarious and absolutely adorable.
Ultimately, Fins Are Forever didn't live up to my expectations set by Forgive My Fins but Tera Lynn Childs has definitely gained a new fan and I look forward to reading more by her in the future; she's fin-tastic*.
*Sorry, I just couldn't help it.
Forgive My Fins:
Release Date: June 1st, 2010 Pages: 293
Source: E-book Buy the Book
Fins Are Forever:
Release Date: July 1st, 2011 Pages: 272
Source: ARC From Publisher Buy the Book