Of Poseidon is Anna Banks' debut YA novel.
For a sweet mermaid romance, Emma McIntosh's story starts out rough. Her father has recently died of cancer, and her best friend is mauled to death by a shark in the opening scene. Baggage enough for any 18-year-old, but then the hot guy who witnessed the carnage at the beach shows up in Emma's world history class. Galen is gorgeous, seems to have money to burn, and is completely focused on Emma. He claims to know Emma's "secret"-one she doesn't even know she has. He also has a sister with a big mouth, whose willingness to wade into any fray soon pushes Emma into awareness that her love-hate feelings for the ocean are more than just a consequence of her friend's death. Banks's first novel has some beginner's bumps, notably the lack of a self-contained plot, but also a great deal of charm. The mix of first-person and third-person present-tense narration is not seamless, though it imparts immediacy and warmth. Much background is given and few questions are answered, but Emma's emotions propel the narrative. Ages 13-up. Agent: Lucy Carson, the Friedrich Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up-Eighteen-year-old Emma never believed she was anything special, but after she literally runs into handsome Galen at a Florida beach, her true identity slowly unfolds. Like Galen, she is a Syrena, a mermaidlike being, and Galen believes she is the girl with the gift of Poseidon, the ability to communicate with fish, whom he has been commissioned to find. When Emma and Galen meet, they feel a strong connection, but their relationship gets off to a rocky start that only gets more complicated as he realizes that she is the only one who can save his kingdom from extinction. The story is told from their alternating perspectives. As usual, this literary tactic gives a broader knowledge of what is really going on despite the bias of one character or another. The dual setting of dry land and under the sea is intriguing and different; however, very little time is spent observing the Syrena kingdom or way of life, and readers are left wanting more. Emma and Galen are adequately depicted as angsty teenagers, but the melodrama often overshadows them, reducing the pair to implausible and tiresome characters. While the plot follows a predictable trajectory, the book does end with unanswered questions, which sets up the next volume in the projected series.-Elizabeth C. Johnson, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.