Mermaids in Paradise, by Lydia Millet

Mermaids in Paradise Lydia MilletMermaids in Paradise
by Lydia Millet
Pub Date: November 3, 2014

You may recall that 5-7 years ago, when the Twilight phenomenon was in full flight, that some people speculated about the next “big” supernatural creature of YA fiction after vampires. Witches had a resurgence, and werewolves. Mermaids was supposed to be the next big one, though I can’t say I really noticed too many books that made enough of a splash. (HAHA! Get it?)

While Mermaids in Paradise is not a YA book, I think we can allow it to be close enough to the supernatural to count as a Halloween-type book. It’s also silly enough to not be a very Halloween-type book. It’s a good vacation read that’s excellent for escaping the approaching cold weather, too.

Deb and Chip are newlyweds on their honeymoon. Deb is a very snarky, sarcastic narrator – not everyone will like her, but I enjoyed her immensely. Her husband Chip is a total DOLL. He is pretty close to my ideal of a spouse. Very sweet, smart, cute, and supportive. The two spend their honeymoon at a tropical resort, and meet a few of the other guests, who are varieties of character types primed for this Gilligan’s Island mashup with a heist film. One of these, a marine biologist, claims to have discovered real mermaids, and discloses the finding very excitedly to her new vacation friends. Unfortunately, the owners of the resort see this as a money-making opportunity and swoop in to capitalize on the mermaids. It’s up to Deb, Chip, and their new friends to put a stop to it and save the mermaids. Pretty silly, right?

Overall I found this a delightful romp, a whimsical farce, an enjoyable reading experience. If you are into Young Adult lit, this reminded me of the tone of Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. It’s poking fun at reality with only breaking a little from reality. It’s enough of a cozy mystery to not get too dark, but has that wink of sarcasm and absurdity to keep from being too treacly. This is definitely a book aimed more at Millennials with its sense of humor, but that’s not to say others can’t enjoy it.

Fair warning – it takes a little bit to get to the meat of the story. Deb meanders a little giving a lead-up to the wedding, and there’s a scene during the bachelorette party that some readers may want to just skip over. Personally I found all of it hilarious, but you’ve been warned. If you want something relatively light that will take you somewhere, and get a chance to meet some entertaining and nuanced characters, and have your dark sense of humor funny bone tickled, this is something to pick up.

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