Book Review: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?
Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.
Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?
Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive. 
Release Date:  July 4, 2011
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group:  Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley

This was a beautifully written mermaid book.  I love the premise of the mermaids.  I'm not going to give it away, but I love how Porter describes the transition from human to mermaid.  Who becomes a mermaid and why was also excellently handled. 

Lost Voices is about friendship, specifically the relationships between teenage girls.  Luce is a young girl who is abused by her uncle.  At the moment of her impending death, she transforms into a mermaid.  Luce meets up with other mermaids and starts learning the ropes of living as a mermaid.  She makes some friends, for the first time in her life.  However, the "mean girl" phenomenon still occurs even underwater, unfortunately for Luce. 

The mermaids exsist to sing unsuspecting humans to their deaths.  Their songs are enchanting and the most skilled mermaids lead each tribe.  Luce is surprised to learn that she is a talented singer without any practice and this talent makes her a target of the other mermaids due to jealousy.  Luce does feel guilt over killing humans, and Porter handles her feelings in a way that you can understand how the humans feel and also how the mermaids feel. 

While the ending felt a little rushed, I'm really looking forward to the next book in this new series.  Sarah Porter has a lyrical writing style that reminds me a lot of Maggie Steifvater.  I would recommend this book to fans of YA and fans of mermaid stories.
Just One Gripe: 
This is something I've always wondered.  Porter says that the mermaids don't wear anything from the waist up.  Some of them have short hair.  It just seems weird to be thinking about topless girls in a YA novel, without long hair to cover their chests (like in the picture).  Someone please let me know if you've felt this way too!

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The writing style.

Appropriate for a younger audience:

Characters: 4/5
Plot:  3/5
Setting/Imagery:  4/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 3/5
Total Score:  18/25


  1. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for your review. I'm not sure about the whole topless thing.

  2. Nice review! I'm not really into mermaids but the 'Who becomes a mermaid and why' element sounds interesting.

    Topless girls in a YA novel - uh no. That's just wrong. Maybe there's more to it? Is there another book coming?

  3. Oh, I've been wanting this book. I have it on my tbr. Sounds even more interesting too. As far as the topless part goes, hm... I'm not sure. I'll have to read the book, but I do understand why it could be disturbing. Especially in today's society. Good question.

  4. I got this one from Netgalley and am waiting to read it for the Debut YA/MG challenge. I'm glad that you really enjoyed it!

  5. O wow. Interesting spin. Very siren. I love it. I can't wait to try it.

  6. There's not that many books on mermaids out yet so the topic itself will be different for a change. You've also got me curious now about how it's decided who becomes a mermaid and who doesn't.

    Oh, thanks for the heads up about the fact that the mermaids don't wear tops. I'm going to say I'd rather not have that in my YA novel but if it's simply a little detail that you can kind of forget about, then I wouldn't mind reading Lost Voices. I'll just pretend they're wearing bras.


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