Published: May 2015
Publisher: HMN Books for Young Readers
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.
Where do I even begin my review with this one. I have to admit, it was a start and stop book when I first began. I didn't know what to expect and the first part of the book was a bit hard to digest. It was a lot like District 9, the movie. I trudged through, trying to imagine the different creatures surfacing from the water and how intimidating it would be to try and accept them and integrate them into society.
I didn't feel as strongly about the characters as Curlypow did. It did take me a long time to get into the novel as action didn't begin until about 60-70% of the way through. Up until then, I still didn't understand why these "mermaids" were refugees on the beach. What they wanted and why they were there. However, after I started to understand the premise, I did become more invested in the plot.
The ending for me, while exciting, did not feel very focused. Lyric seemed to be all over the place and I was having trouble imagining the final scenes with much clarity. Yes, I understand that the situation was chaotic but I did not feel that the ending was as tightly written as it could have been.
From an ISU standpoint though, this book would have much to offer. Particularly acceptance, bullying, discrimination. Perhaps poverty, and family dynamics. If you like the idea (and problems associated with) co-existing with an alien nation, this could be the one for you. Maybe you'll have better luck than I will. I am undecided as to whether I'll dive into Book #2....