If you’ve ever wanted to be a mermaid, or believed your true form was a mermaid, then I think you’ll relate to our main character in this story.

Ren loves mermaids. She has a cherished book with mermaid fairytales and mythologies that she reads and rereads constantly. She reads it and knows that that is what she is, she is a mermaid. So at a young age, she convinces her mother to let her try out for a competitive swim team so that she can be in the water. Not only does she make the team, she has a natural talent with swimming which only reinforces to her that she is a mermaid.

Throughout her school years, she stays on the team and gets better, faster, and stronger. She knows that the reason to her success is that she is a chlorine mermaid. She doesn’t have many friends on the team, it’s really only Cathy, a shy, awkward girl who is not as thin and toned as the rest of the team and one of the slower swimmers and therefore is ostracized. But Ren gets it, and she bonds with Cathy at a pivotal point in her life that seals their friendship forever. And as the story goes on, their friendship gets darker and deeper, as well as more complicated.

This book is told kind of like a memoir. The first chapter especially as it speaks directly to the reader and outlines what we are to expect from the book. Intermittently, there are letters from Cathy to Ren talking to her about her feelings toward Ren and what she did. We still don’t know exactly what she does until the end, but from these letters we get an idea to the scale and severity of the action. I found myself enjoying these letters more than I thought I would. They were bittersweet and full of queer angst (two of my favorite things). I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to mention this already, but Chlorine is queer! There are no sexualities given on page, but you can get an idea from context clues.

If you like strange books, if you like books that explore identity, determination, and desperation, then I think you might like this! The writing style could put people off which is why I made sure to mention it. There is one bit near the end that is somewhat graphic and did upset me (I am very squeamish so take that with a grain of salt), and there is a part dedicated to a nonconsensual sexual experience that is not described on page, but is definitely there and so I want to make you aware of it. If those things don’t bother you then I say check this out! There’s nothing wrong with a unique, bizarre story every now and then.

Published by keelinrita

A Chicago girl with a lot of feelings about fictional people.

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