I don’t normally read or blog about too many YA or romance books, but I do enjoy one from time to time, especially as my middle daughter is getting into more teen reads and she loves these sorts of books. Once I heard that A Thousand Salt Kisses featured mer-people, fantasy, the ocean, and an environmental plot, I had to agree to check it out. Both my girls and I really enjoy stories of the sea. Plus it gave me a much needed break from the heavier historical and horror books I generally work with or read when I am not reviewing middle readers with the girls. However, as I noted, the movement up towards reading YA will be a fun one as well. I do enjoy reading them when I can, I just don’t normally review on my site, but hey, it’s the start of summer and some sun and ocean were just what I was craving.
A Thousand Kisses has a really great premise and plot line to it. I love the fantasy world of the mer-people colliding with the modern teenage world. I love the setting of their home by the lighthouse and I really like how the author brought environmental concerns to the forefront by having Crystal, the main protagonist, uncover a mystery in this vein.
I love writers from the UK and the way they also write YA is quite modern, and in that regard, the book is what I thought and hoped it might be. As a serial, which it started out being, I can definitely see how its pace would have kept readers wanting the next segment. It starts off quickly with the romance and carries that through the entire time.
When I first began the book I realized I *really* would need to start over, take off my editor and adult hat, and read with the mind of my advanced middle schooler because otherwise I wouldn’t make it past the first couple chapters. Therefore, I don’t think this is a YA that adults should be clamoring for, and if that was the intent, then I’ll put my editor hat back on and say let’s work on less cheesy phrasing and dialogue and add more substance. But if it’s meant as a quick read for younger eyes, who make funny remarks in their own heads and giggle in the wrong places, then younger girls on the lower end of the teenage years might enjoy this. I will say with my editors hat on that I did find errors starting from the beginning and on, but not much a regular younger reader eye would catch so it probably won’t halt reading. However, content and copy editing is something to consider ongoing. Also, I’d keep in mind not to judge appearances with girls in writing for them too, for instance, insinuating a girl with frizzy hair or a round face is somehow “less” of a looker. We want to build up self-confidence in young ladies! So again, these are just helpful hints and constructive comments for the author, not any reason at all to not like the story. However, the writing is not on the level of some of the more detailed and descriptive writers of today.
Overall I did like the characters and felt that this book, though stand alone as it is, could be continued to a series (found out it is) and so I hope that author will work hard on her writing craft as she opens her imagination. I really liked how she didn’t center just on a romance of summer love with teens and mer-people, but also how she created the sub-plot with her parents and the toxic waste harming marine life. I think girls these days want more substance and things to inspire them to be activists and involved in their own lives and communities, even if they have some romance blossoming. I would want to see more of these characters and learn more about the mer-people, and I bet that younger readers would also, possibly tackling more mysteries. There are enough emotions to keep the reader hooked and intrigue to keep you guessing, but mostly for the younger readers.
I’m going to pass this along to my middle schooler, without comments, and see how she likes it. She may love the hint of romance, the fantasy angle, and the sub-plot. I don’t want to mislead readers and say this is a Jennifer Donnelly-type book (Deep Blue) because it’s not, but there is enough there that if worked on, could turn it into a much better series. Best of luck to the author! I’d give it 3 stars and recommend for teen readers.
A Thousand Salt Kisses
by Josie Demuth
Publication Date: April 2016
Wise Ink Press
Series: Salt Kisses, Book One
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance/Mer-Stories
Beautiful Crystal White is the new girl on the remote Starfish Island. During a party on the mainland, she goes for a midnight swim with other party goers where she meets the handsome, intriguing Llyr amongst the waves.
As she heads back to shore she realizes that he is not behind her and that nobody at the party remembers him. Crystal can’t seem to shake Llyr from her mind and returns to the beach in the hope of meeting him again. When she finally does, she realizes there may be more truth to the ramblings of the island folk than she thought.
To add more drama to her life, Crystal’s mother and her father are at war over a local power station that is devastating local marine life.
Over a sizzling roller coaster summer, it becomes apparent that all these events are not entirely unrelated and Crystal finds herself both caught up in a deep mystical romance and at the centre of an exploding environmental scandal…
Josie Demuth, Author
Josie is a 31 year-old writer from London. Her Salt Kisses books became popular on Wattpad, and are now also serialised on Radish Fiction. A Thousand Salt Kisses is her third book.
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