By: Erin Sankey
Publication Date: November 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: May 31, 2012
Beginning with an accident that takes his parents' lives, Frances is at a loss of what will become of him. The funeral brings well-wishers and sympathetic eyes, but no answers. Frances has no idea what to do; his choice of homes are between a hypochondriac uncle, a musician cousin who is riddled with debt and a sister who has just begun a brand new life and, even though she’s loving, has far too many things on her plate. All of a sudden a limo pulls up in front of the house and an estranged grandmother steps out as elegant as the Queen and, in what seems like seconds, Frances’ life is completely and utterly changed.
Going to live with this slightly odd relative, Frances is whisked away to an island in the Atlantic located off the coast of Florida called Caytone Island. There, Frances is thrust into a life that includes everything from a butler riding around in a golf cart, a private jet, a private tutor, and even a pair of Macaws that patrol the property. Frances’ newfound relative is a very nice woman (and a character who is beyond memorable); even though she’s a bit pampered, she’s extremely funny and their egos seem to mesh well.
One day, as Frances is walking along the beach, he takes a spill, and when he wakes up he is staring into the most beautiful violet eyes he’s ever seen. Of course, the violet eyes are not the most unique trait when it comes to this stunning creature - it is the fact that the owner of them is an actual mermaid. Her name is NaLee, and from then on out, Frances begins the adventure of a lifetime.
With each new chapter, this author has the wonderful ability to introduce characters who cover a wide range of emotions. A man of the law who can literally jump off the page and scare you to scenes of dolphins' buried treasure, tales of pirates and ghosts…this one has it all. What readers will like most is watching Frances develop. Being a simple boy from Chicago who has gone through tragedy and who is desperately trying to overcome and find his own ‘path’ in life is hard enough, but to then watch him enter a world that is sparked by sheer serenity and magic almost makes it feel as if the reader is back with Mr. Potter and following yet another unforgettable tale of growing up in a world you won’t soon forget.
The only tough part comes from the formatting of the book. Unfortunately, this read does need an editor to clean up the dialogue and separate the characters from one another. For example, in one paragraph you will find an entire conversation between characters with no paragraph breaks which makes it hard, at times, to follow. However, the beauty of the land and the heartwarming story is very intriguing. In addition, we are looking at only Book I of the NaLee trilogy, so it will be fun to see how it all moves forward.
Quill Says: A very good YA story that simply needs a bit of polish.