Foam On The Crest Of Waves

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

Oh I seriously enjoyed this book! I love the others writing style and story building abilities. The characters were all fully fleshed out and realistic!
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I wanted to really enjoy this book but unfortunately I just did not. I couldn't connect with the story and the writing just wasn't for me. It's  a major case of me not you.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: November 25, 2018

Genre: Contemporary/Loose retelling of the Little Mermaid

Recommended Age: 16+ (death, trauma, violence, PTSD, domestic violence)

Publisher: Caper Books

Pages: 322

Amazon Link


Review: I thought this was a raw and very emotional book. The best I’ve read from this author so far! I loved the characters, they were very well developed. I really felt for Abalone, I too used to believe I was a mermaid. I thought the story was beautiful and intriguing. The writing was on point and the story was heartbreaking.

The only issue I had with the book is that it had some slight slow moments, but for the most part it was beautiful and perfect.

Verdict: Don’t read if you don’t like to cry of feel things.
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This book is stunning in imagery, character, and revelation. The beautiful details of scenery and emotion absorbed my full attention. However, a strange tempo left me wanting more explanation of the actual drama amidst the minutiae. Grand scenes were glossed over or summarized, which may be more testament to how much the story pulled me in that I didn’t want out so easily. Time transitions were sometimes unannounced and confusing, although they still made for a nicely unraveled puzzle. The plot itself is unique and took me through many depths of emotion. This is the first book in a while where I felt very nearly involved in the story myself.
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I appreciate that Foam on the Crest of Waves followed the original Hans Christian Andersen tale. I reached out, through my blog, and connected with the author who offered a fascinating interview and images of her collection of sea glass.
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This book is really beautiful. The characters are well developed and engaging. The author did a great job of creating a really immersive experience for the reader, building a world that I felt I was a part of and knew. 
The story is sad as we see these characters deal with different kinds of loss and struggling to process evrything that happens around them. 
I did find some parts of it a bit confusing, especially with the sudden flashbacks that we get without a warning, but they really add to the development of the characters and the story. The style of the story made it feel like it was aimed at young readers, in spite of dealing with some really sensitive topics.
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Abalone has never recovered from the death of her mother. Becoming selectively mute, Abby communicates with gestures and through her jewelry/artwork. Because she won’t talk, Abby hasn’t let on that she plans on turning into a mermaid on her 15th birthday. She believes that her mother is alive, living with the mermaids and wants Abby to join her. Jeremy is Abby’s father. For the past 7 years, he has been in a fog of grief, only coming out to somewhat deal with Abby’s issues. He is jolted out of his fog by a series of events. He is forced to face that his wife wasn’t who he thought she was. Devastated by the disappearance of her husband, Gina has thrown herself into helping Jeremy and Abby. But, Gina knows a secret. A secret that could devastate Jeremy and Abby if they found out. Lief somehow has gotten himself into abalone smuggling without knowing how. His secret passion singing and he has a voice that rivals professionals. Lief has developed a stalker like interest in Abby after she assaults him. What will happen on Abby’s 15th birthday? Can this family survive the secrets? Or will Abby be lost to the mermaids?

Foam on the Crest of Waves is a very loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. The more accurate description would be a reverse telling of The Little Mermaid. What I liked about this book was that the author ran with the retelling. She took that fable and put her own twist on it. I also liked that she followed the original Hans Christian Andersen tale. She did mention the Disney retelling several times during the book. The mural was a huge homage to it. But the bones of the story was the original story.

There was one point in the book where I had several “WTH” moments. I didn’t understand how Lief’s parents didn’t know what he was up to. Didn’t they want to know where he was getting the extra money from? How did they not know about his amazing voice? He had to of sang when he was younger. Abby was 15, why was she allowed to wander all over the place? At one point in the book, she took a train out-of-town and she spent the night in the woods. Jeremy and Gina didn’t notice that she was gone. That drove me nuts.

The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was how it went back and forth in time. One moment I would be reading about Gina and her struggles post-accident, then I would be reading about her life pre-accident. No warning about the change in time periods. It happened. It drove me absolutely nuts.

The plotline involving Abby was broke my heart. She believed that she would turn into a mermaid on her 15th birthday. I liked how the author chose to have Abby doubt if that was going to happen. I liked how what happened the night that Fern died was leaked. It kept me guessing. But the truth of what happened was a shocked the heck out of me. I wasn’t expecting that.

Lief’s storyline was very well written also. He was so conflicted about what he should do with his life. Abby assaulting him made him think about what he was doing with his life. The scene in the woods was the turning point for him. I was afraid for him, considering what Abby was thinking when they were in the water towards the end of the book.

Jeremy was broken. Fern’s death destroyed him. Abby was the only thing that kept him going. But, as the book went on, it seemed like Fern played fast and loose with him. The news he got about Abby the night Fern died was heartbreaking. I did want to know what the DNA test results were, though. It was never mentioned again.

I did like Gina and felt awful for her. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what happened to my husband for 7 years. And the secret that she carried was soul eating. Do I think that she should have told Jeremy sooner? Yes but then the book wouldn’t have played out the way it did.

The end of the book was amazing. I loved how the author brought all the storylines together. It was perfect. The epilogue was great also. But I did worry about Abby. Her final scene bothered me. It made me think that nothing changed with her.

I gave Foam On The Crest Of Waves a 4-star rating. This book was a wonderful retelling of The Little Mermaid. I connected with each character. The plotlines were all very well written. The only thing I didn’t like was how it went back and forth in time. Other than that, a wonderful book.

I would give Foam On The Crest Of Waves an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not graphic. There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the death of a parent, death of a spouse, cheating, traumatic accident, and talk of suicide. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Foam On The Crest Of Waves. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Foam On The Crest Of Waves.

All opinions stated in this review of Foam On The Crest Of Waves are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
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The lasting impression left by Foam on the Crest of Waves is one of breathtaking beauty and rich sensuousness of the ocean and life under it: all jewelled hues, salty fresh scents and tastes, and liquid silk slipping over the skin. Oh, and death. Overshadowing everything like the darkness cast beneath the hull of a fish-hunting trawler.

This is a reimagining of the story of the Little Mermaid, but what a reimagining! Abalone, our teenage protagonist, traumatised by an incident seven years previously which took her mother and caused her uncle to vanish no longer speaks. Viewing the humans surrounding her as mere ‘Props’ she longs to return to the water and join the merfolk she feels kinship with; to be reunited with her lost loved ones.

In addition to Abalone’s perspective we also see events through the eyes of her father, Jeremy, who lost his wife and looks on helplessly as his daughter is slipping away; her aunt Gina, Jeremy’s sister, who supports her brother and niece whilst waiting for her husband and life to return; Leif, who at first is at odds with the strange girl of the sea, but then finds himself drawn to her mystery, pulling him from his own troubles and into a surreal world where dreams can be sung into life. (We also get a few cameo views from cameraman Dan, voyeuristically following events and characters from a distance as he ponders the unfolding events, but I didn’t really feel he was a fully fleshed character or that his perspective brought much to the story.)

Of course, similarly to the original source material, most of the problems the characters face here could be resolved by just a little communication with each other, but, each scarred and broken in their own ways the author shows how grief and bitterness has turned them inward and away from each other, and how very dangerous that can be if the fantasy world therein remains undiluted by the cold water of reality. I felt horrified by the way grief causes Abalone to detach so thoroughly from reality, and angry with Jeremy and Gina for allowing it; even as I sympathised with them for not knowing how best to deal with her whilst trapped in their own bubbles of misery.

The plot is haunting and twists, taking us back between memories of the past and events in the present; showing patterns and cycles as clear and chaotic as the rhythms of the tides. The finale and epilogue are masterful, bringing the storyline to a satisfying conclusion, drawing so smoothly to a natural close that I almost missed the ominous shadow lurking in the still waters. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story long after I had put it down, as my imagination followed the author’s lead into the future for the characters and the final pieces slotted into the puzzle.

I would definitely recommend this story, and any others by Silke Stein after also having read Sleep, Merel, Sleep! I can’t wait to see what she writes next…

Down here, we don’t use words. Yet they lie in wait, in the niches of my brain, ready to crawl out and gather, unbidden, unwanted, whenever I try to forget them and become one with the world I love. How can I describe the peace surrounding me with blunt expressions that tarnish its beauty?
How can I praise the soothing cool, the colors of the anemones, my finned companions, without employing the only language I know?
During the last seven years, I have mastered silence – learned to ignore my tongue, as I could not rid myself of it. I never speak to the Props; however, I have no choice but to think their thoughts. That is, until I meet my people. They will teach me their ways and words, and call me by my true name.

– Silke Stein, Foam on the Crest of Waves

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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