Silverswift – Middle Grade Mermaid Fantasy

An oddly deep and heartfelt middle grade fantasy that follows a young girl and her grandmother as they go to find mermaids.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy heartfelt stories
  • Want a middle grade (but not too young feel) read
  • Like mermaid fantasy stories

TitleSilverswift | Author: Natalie LloydRating: 3/5

On a dark, wintry day, Eliza Grey receives a mysterious letter from her ailing Nana Mora begging her to come for a visit. This is an easy “Yes”. Eliza has always preferred Nana Mora’s beach cottage on St. Simons Island to the apartment she and her mom call home in the city. The island is a magical place where stories and legends grow as thick as the Spanish moss dangling in the trees. Now, Nana Mora’s eyesight is fading, and there’s something she wants to show Eliza before it’s totally gone: a mythical place locals refer to as Sirens Harbor. Supposedly hidden somewhere on the island, it’s a place where all the mermaids in the world congregate once a year to sing their Winter Song. It’s all fairy-tale silliness, according to Eliza’s mom. But Nana Mora is convinced it’s real. 

It’s a sweet, sweet story about Eliza Grey going off with her grandmother to find the fabled mermaids her grandmother always spoke about. Everything thinks grandma Nora is batty, an old woman holding on to old stories about mermaids who could never have existed. But Eliza and Nora both know better. They know the tales are true, and that the mermaids are as real as the moonlight scattering over the ocean’s surface.

I loved the relationship between Eliza and her grandmother, especially as Eliza doesn’t have the best relationship with her own mother, Jocelyn. But Eliza finds her home in her grandmother and her island, and drinks the stories she tells. Eliza knows her grandmother is right, and she wants to prove that to the world, even if it means going off in the cold winter to find the mermaids who visit a large rock only once.

The story has a dreamy, sleepy quality to it. More like a cozy bedtime story than anything else. I loved it. It was certainly middle grade, but something about it felt, at once, young and old. I think the voice was young, but not in a childish way. And the story was old in the way that wisdom is. The book expected you, in a quiet way, to believe in something beyond what we know. To believe in the ocean, in the waves, and the mermaids that live under them.

The story itself isn’t original or unusual, but the feel of it is homey and cozy and everything you’d need on a cold winter’s night, or even a hot summer’s day. It’s one of those books that, if you give it a chance and get back into the mindset of a young girl, will transport you to another world where your days are carefree and magic is still real.

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