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A Reader of Fictions: Liar, Liar - A Fine Frenzy

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Liar, Liar - A Fine Frenzy

Lost Voices

Author: Sarah Porter
Pages: 291
ARC Acquired from: Harcourt Children's Books via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Luce grew up with her father, a thief and repairman. They mostly lived in his big red van, constantly on the go, escaping from places they can never go again. Eventually, though, Luce's father felt that they should settle in one place for her benefit, so they moved to Alaska, where his brother (whose girlfriend he stole - Luce's mom) could get him a job on a boat. Unfortunately, one day during an awful storm, his boat did not return and Luce was left with her drunken, abusive uncle. On her fourteenth birthday, her uncle tries to rape her, because she so resembles her mom, and Luce discovers that a combination of loneliness and complete hatred of humans can cause a girl to become a mermaid.

Lost Voices reminds me a bit of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, only with a crazy paranormal bent and less focus. The story never really seemed quite to resolve into a plot. I suspect this may mean there is a sequel in the works, which would explain why so many things were brought up and then dropped by the seaside.

Porter's explanation of how mermaids come about and why they sink ships was certainly an intriguing one. Abused girls turn into mermaids and then punish the humans who did such awful things to them. To do this, they are gifted with otherworldly voices and beauty, which lure the humans to their deaths.

If this book had been a bit different, I think I might have liked it. The writing was pretty good and, even though I was not particularly into the story, it still moves along at a nice pace. However, the story focused primarily on the weird mermaid society, on their codes and how all of them secretly break them. Basically, it showed how terrifying a sisterhood is and how much fun it is to sing. I would have preferred a Speak-like focus on issues of child abuse or a fantasy romance that considered the possibility of the existence of mermen or an ethical tale that really evaluated their life choices. Lost Voices touches on all of these, but does not really go into any sort of satisfying detail.

The book is odd too, in that it would seem to attract a younger crowd, given the age of the heroine and the almost complete lack of romance. Yet, the issues and the tone of desolation would seem to suggest it is for older readers. Lost Voices is about as happy and sweet as the killer unicorn books by Diana Peterfreund, only not, for me, as good.

To sum up, I didn't hate this, nor did I like it particularly. It raises some interesting issues and I certainly recommend it to those who like YA paranormal, but are sick of the romances.

"Oh, oh, the sirens sang so sweet
And watched the sailors going down
Oh, oh, you talked to me in siren song
Yeah, anyone would drown
Anyone would drown

All the ships go down
Following the sound
All the ships go down"

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