Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control. But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm. Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of Wrecked. It intrigued me because of the summary's similarities to "The Little Mermaid" And I love me some fairytale inspired novels. While reading it however, I soon learned that is not really the point of Wrecked.
For me Wrecked is a heart wrenching tale of loss and guilt underneath myth and fantasy elements. It's still a love story, as the cover tries to assert, but Miranda growing up and dealing with the situation she is put through is the focus. She was driving the boat during the accident which kills many of her friends, yet she is saved and ends up living. She is constantly blaming herself, and it doesn't help that her surviving friends blame her as well.
The beginning starts out a bit rough, trying to introduce so many characters (half of whom die) and the mythos of the Down Below, after the exposition is out of the way though the prose flows easily and enchanted me. I loved Miranda as a character for how flawed she was (however I will admit I know some people are not fans of such flawed main characters) and I felt that many of the characters had a depth to them. Christian, Gray, Valentine and Coral probably felt the most one dimensional; however I found the portrayal of the grieving friends and family well done however.
The ending was also slightly rushed, though I enjoyed the idea of it a lot. It probably could have been drawn out a bit more and the reveal of Coral to everyone made more obvious, but there were many other elements of the ending that I loved.
The story does indeed mirror "The Little Mermaid", though far from an outright fairytale retelling. The prose is definitely closer to the style of contemporary or paranormal young adult novel. Overall, Wrecked is much better than I had originally perceived and I am very happy I was able to receive a copy.
One thing that didn't happen that I really wished had happened was that Gray had made a pact with the sea witch somehow. It felt so suspect that Gray was absolutely a-okay and not even hurt, that she led the pack against Miranda, almost as if she had thought Miranda was going to die and upset that she hadn't. When Coral had come into the school and talked with Gray, it had made me even more positive this had been what happened, that Gray had bargained away the souls because she was mad or jealous. I think that would have been an insanely interesting twist, and then I could see Coral double crossing Gray afterwards.
Also when I say the ending was rushed, I really mean it. When Eleanor mentioned Coral being Sephie, I had to turn back, because I couldn't remember that being revealed to the general public at all. So I do wish that part had been extended (though I loved her death by fire).
I'm probably a bit of a masochist for saying this, but I absolutely adored the fact that Christian and Miranda did not end up together and Miranda did indeed end up in Arizona. There's something about that that feels realistic, and so much more like a growing experiences for Miranda that she had needed badly and will never forget. It's reflective of "The Little Mermaid" in a way since officially the mermaid does die at the end because she is unable to make herself harm the prince.
I recommend this book to people who like coming of age young adult books, or ones dealing with loss. I also recommend it for people who enjoy paranormal books dealing with merpeople and other similar creatures.