Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette
Review copy received at SIBA
From the publisher:
Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.
When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.
I haven’t read a ton of fairy tale retellings, but this one interested me because of the focus on the “other woman” – in this case, Celia. In the Little Mermaid fairy tale, we see the woman the prince is supposed to marry as the opposing force in the mermaid’s quest to fall in love with the prince, but we don’t necessarily see her as a real person, so in Fathomless, Jackson Pearce takes the idea of that character and makes her a person with her own story to tell.
And I really liked Celia! She was compelling to me because she had all of these issues of her own – trying to differentiate herself from her sisters while still maintaining that strong triplet bond they shared, figuring out who she was in the world, and trying to understand how she could best use her power for good instead of the way her sisters used theirs – to manipulate and use people.
I liked Lo, too, although I do with Pearce would have gotten deeper into her background and her psyche. I felt that there was more to her than her life as a mermaid and I wanted more of those details. But I get that those details were kept from the reader because Lo herself didn’t remember them, so it makes sense. It just seemed to me that Lo was kept more at arm’s length from the reader, while Celia was more of an open book.
This book was cute, fun, and I liked it. What made me want to read it the most was meeting Jackson Pearce at SIBA – she was hysterical and I really liked her personality – and I’m glad I gave the novel a chance. It won’t be among my favorite YA books of all time, but I was entertained by it and would recommend it for those who enjoy fairy tale retellings.