Skipping the Scales by Pete Tarsi

Skipping the Scales by Pete Tarsi
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (208 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Meredith, Marina, and Hailey’s wildest dreams could be coming true.

Two weeks in the ocean changed Meredith’s life and career goal. Now studying marine biology, she lands a summer internship at a local aquarium. Her aquatic intuition impresses her mentor, but how would the mermaids feel about holding fish captive in the name of science?

Marina has returned ashore to seek out her missing mother. A curious and cryptic painting leads to other clues, but the search through her mother’s past reveals more questions than answers. Could her parents have left the ocean harboring a deep, dark secret?

Meanwhile, Hailey keeps Marina’s tail safe and lives her lifelong dream to be a real mermaid. The experience is exhilarating, until the leader of the school suspects she is a human. If she gets caught, would it leave her friend forever marooned on land?

When second-guessing, mystery, and danger threaten to sink their dreams, will they skip out? Or will they work together and swim through the rough waters ahead?

There are tantalizing secrets to uncover on land as well as at sea if Marina and Meredith can figure out where to look.

The dialogue was terrific. Mermaids have such a creative interpretation of the English language. All of their metaphors and old sayings are based on life in the water, of course, and it was so much fun to discover even more of them than I’d learned in the previous book. For example, BFF is slang for “best friends with fins” for them. That’s only one of the many playful differences between human and mermaid culture.

There were some pacing issues. Having two main characters who were on separate adventures slowed down the plot in some places. In other spots, the focus was shifted from one girl to the other just when I was getting eager to see what would happen to them next. It was sometimes jarring to switch to the other storyline when the previous one was in the middle of an important scene. I would have preferred to either jump between perspectives earlier on or know how certain conflicts were resolved before the point of view switched again. There were times when I wasn’t as interested in how those conflicts were handled once the scene switched back to them because of how many other things had happened in the meantime.

This tale spent plenty of time explaining how a mermaid’s body works and how their society is set up. These topics weren’t given as much attention as I would have liked to see in the first instalment, so I was glad to learn more about what mermaids are capable of, what the different colors of their tails mean, and how they stay safe and out of sight in the middle of the ocean. It fleshed out that part of the plot wonderfully and made me eager to see how this trilogy will end.

I’d recommend reading the first story in this series, Flipping the Scales, before diving into this one. There were characters and some background information that readers need to already know about in order to get the most out of the sequel.

Skipping the Scales should be read by anyone who loves mermaids or the ocean.

Speak Your Mind