Cover Image: American Mermaid

American Mermaid

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Member Reviews

This book attempted to cross genres and ended up a bizarre mess! I listened to it and maybe it would’ve felt more connected if I had read it, but this one was a huge letdown for me.

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I enjoyed parts of this novel. I really enjoyed the concept and the metaness of the novel and certain scenes do stick with me. I also love a protagonist who loses their way and spirals out. I do think this novel lost some in the execution. The parts of the made up novel were often times more interesting and thought out in comparison to the story framing the novel. I did expect the novel to be funnier than it was. Some jokes felt tired and like material that has been well tread.

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Book to film- could never be easy for an author. I did enjoy this book. It felt like a behind the scenes look of getting a movie made with good characters and well interwoven stories.

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Unfortunately this one did not work for me and I ended up DNFing about half way through. Initially, I was really interested in the story inside the story (American Mermaid) but I could not really connect with the character that wrote the book or the topics of discussion. I love this cover and really wanted to like this one but it just wasn't in my wheelhouse.

Thank you so much for the review copy1!

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I enjoyed this one!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when getting into it, but I found it to be a light and refreshing read.

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Thank you Double Day and NetGalley for the ARC of American Mermaid. All opinions in this review are my own.

A burnt out teacher writes the next best-selling book and moves to LA to make it into a movie. The movie executives want to make significant changes to the book which the author doesn't agree with. She also complains a lot about how expensive things are even though she admits to having money now.

I read 50 pages and I am stopping. I just don't think this writing style is for me and reading about how the movie version of the book is going to make drastic changes is painful. I think I would have rather read the book that the main character wrote than the main character's experience.

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American Mermaid is a book within a book. There’s the story American Mermaid and then there’s the story about the author of American Mermaid trying to turn her book into a movie without selling it’s soul.
What I liked:
-Ace rep-the mermaid in the story is stated to be asexual and it’s implied that the author in the story is as well without really being ready to label it.
-Penelope’s attempts to stay true to her story
-the ridiculousness she encounters meeting different “Hollywood” types.

What I didn’t love:
-it took me a little while to get into the story with the back and forth between the two stories.

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I wanted to like American Mermaid but found the characters unbelievable (especially the main character) and difficult to relate to. Although the writing was ok I’m not sure I would recommend this one.

**Thanks to NetGally and the publisher for an electronic ARC and the opportunity to provide feedback about this book.

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I wanted to like American Mermaid by Julia Langbein. The narrative of the “book within the book” was almost more compelling than the main narrative, but the blending of the two at the end was too much. Thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.

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Penelope Schleeman, a perpetually cash-strapped high school teacher from Connecticut, experiences profound astonishment when her tender debut novel, "American Mermaid," garners unexpected success. The book tells the story of Sylvia, a wheelchair-bound scientist who unveils a hidden secret: her withered legs conceal the remnants of a powerful tail. The novel soars to bestseller status and Penelope is drawn into the world of Hollywood when she's enticed to LA with the promise of easy money. Her mission: to co-write the "American Mermaid" screenplay for a major studio, alongside two mediocre male writers.

Under the studio's mounting pressure, Penelope finds herself compelled to transform "American Mermaid" from the tale of a resolute androgynous eco-warrior into a teenage sex symbol donning a clamshell bra. This disconcerting alteration coincides with a series of bizarre occurrences. Threats materialize in the screenplay draft, and seductive siren calls tempt individuals into peril. When Penelope's screenwriting collaborators attempt to eliminate Sylvia entirely in an inauthentic but cinematic climax, the off-screen situation takes a distressing turn.

Sylvia is an intriguing character, and I relished the trajectory of her character within Penny's novel. The parallel storytelling between the two narratives, however, could be demanding, mainly because Penny's novel excerpts are detailed and sometimes overshadow her own storyline. This debut work is undoubtedly an impressive one that will cater to a broad readership. While there's much to admire, personally, I found myself more drawn to the concept and premise of the book than the book itself.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I saw the word Mermaid and I KNEW I needed to read it! What can I say, I'm easily intrigued. It was a book about a novel the FMC wrote. A book within a book y'all!!! Penelope wrote a book about Sylvia who is wheelchair bound because she is unable to use her legs. Her legs aren't legs but a tail! As Penelope is turning her book into film changes are being made to her book and weird things start happening. She is convinced she has basically brought Sylvia to life.

It sounds like a thriller but it isn't. I would classify it is traditional fiction. I felt like I could relate to Penelope even though I am not a writer or prior teacher. The author did a great job writing her character. When Sylvia found out who she really was and started getting confidence and strength in herself it was pretty awesome!

As I always say I NEVER READ THE SYNOPSIS. It is sooo much better to go in to books blind IMO. I enjoyed every minute of this book and am so glad I had the chance to read it early!! Thank you to @doubleday & AUTHOR for an eARC copy of this book.

review will be posted to IG in the next week or two.

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This book has a great concept and a strong start, bus as I read more and more, I began to feel lost and I wasn't enjoying the plot.

I love framed stories, naturally I thought I'd enjoy this one (I love mermaids too), but that didn't happen. I started feeling bored and I was only invested in the story inside the story. I forced myself to finish it and I think I shouldn't have done it.

If you decide to read it, I really hope you have better luck than me with this one.

Thank you netgalley and douebleday books for my digital copy.

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When a struggling English teacher writes a feminist novel about an androgynous eco-warrior mermaid, it becomes a surprise bestseller and Hollywood comes calling. But when she moves to LA, she’s pressured to change her heroine into a sex object–and she’s not the only one upset about it. It seems her mermaid is ready to take her own revenge on Hollywood.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I didn’t like the main character or the people she met, and it was hard to care about what happened to her. The book-within-a-book was actually more interesting than the main story–but not to the extent that I believed it was a literary sensation.

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DNF
I just couldn't click with the protagonist.
My library did purchase the book but it hasn't circulated well.
Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC in exhange for an honest review.

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My first time reading this author so it took a while to get used to the writing style. The book in a book concept was interesting once I was able to figure out which was which. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

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“What else, Sylvia wondered, am I doing because I still think I’m only human, because it’s the only culture I’ve known? What powers do I have that I’ve simply never used because I’ve never seen them used, never been told I have them?”

“Decisions happen sometimes without being made precisely.”

Ok, this cover 🤩. I couldn’t look away! Was I gifted an ARC from @doubledaybooks? Yep. Was I gifted the audiobook version? Also yep. Did I also buy a print copy because the cover is just so eye catching and stunning that I NEEDED to have it?! 😁 You guessed it! Yep.

But unfortunately that’s where my excitement ends. What was inside this gorgeous cover struggled to hold my interest. The story was ok. I enjoyed the book within a book style for sure. But I don’t know I just found my mind wandering and wondering when it was going I be over 😬.

“She’d spent so long not knowing who she was, and then that night in Boston Harbor, when she swam for the first time, she’d finally had an answer: she was something strong and beautiful.” 🥰

Thank you for the free #audiobook @PRHAudio and @doubledaybooks and @netgalley for the eARC.

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This was definitely "sharp" as the reviews allude to. The writing style is edgy and kind of disjointed so it's important to realize up front that the structure feels a bit like a quirky stream of consciousness. I loved the storyline overall and the ironic tone but it was hard for me to follow at times. Overall it was enjoyable and will likely be a popular read. Just important to be able to keep up with the unconventional format! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an eARC of this book!

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Including Ig post: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CqD6Tuwtgb3/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

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Such an ambitious novel! Langbein has given us a hilarious and thought-provoking story with multiple layers that reward a patient and open mind. Uses the book-within-a-book structure remarkably well and delivers an affecting story about the intersections of art, business, vision, and compromise.

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