Fish Girl Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-04-15 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 12 user ratings

" By far the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen in a graphic novel. David Wiesner outdoes himself here. The story is beguiling. I can pretty much guarantee that my lower school girls will adore this book and it will fly off the shelves. A mermaid who is befriended by a girl their age? Who could ask for anything more? " said.

" Very sweet update on the Little Mermaid. Mira, a mermaid, lives in an aquarium run by "Neptune," a fisherman profits by promoting the mystery of "Fish Girl." Things change when a 12-year-old girl named Livia befriends Mira and encourages her to explore the world outside the museum's walls. Lovely full-color illustrations, a charming octopus sidekick, and a strong coming-of-age theme. Sure to be a hit with tweens. " said.

"Fish Girl is a mermaid who lives in a boardwalk attraction--a multi-story aquarium built by the man she knows as Neptune, god of the sea, who rescued her as a baby from the depredations of humans on the ocean. She has grown up knowing only this world and the creatures in it, helping Neptune keep it going by teasing customers with glimpses of her, and befriending the octopus and other sea life. As she gets older, though, she feels lonely, and when a human girl really sees her, they secretly become friends. Fish Girl begins to question her existence, and who Neptune really is, and where her future might lie.

I love David Wiesner's art and was thrilled to see a graphic novel from him with such gorgeous illustrations (I do wish the pages had been glossy rather than matte, but that's a small thing). The story moves along well for the most part (I did get a little bored in spots when nothing seemed to be happening), and has enough suspense and strong character to keep readers going. My main quibble with the book is the same quibble I have with many books--the message is that if you want friends/family/love/etc., you must give up what makes you unique or different and become like those you want to befriend, etc. To get a new life, you must completely give up your old life and all those in it. Now, there is some truth in that you have to make choices and give things up to get other things, yes, but for a huge number of people that doesn't mean you give up your entire life and all your friends--I went to college across the country, but I still came home and kept old friends and certainly kept my family. Granted, I wasn't a mermaid. But still, why can't characters have both? Just doesn't seem like a great message--conform or be unloved and alone. But that's just me.
" said.

"Fish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli is a graphic novel about a young girl who has grown up in a tank on a seaside boardwalk. She swims around and is unable to talk with humans but is able to speak with the sea animals. Her job is to only allow glimpses of herself to the tourists. One day, a human girl named Livia sees more than a glimpse of Fish Girl. Fish Girl begins to question all that "Neptune" has told her about humans and the outside world. Fish Girl starts investigating all that "Neptune" has told her and she begins to realize that the one human she trusted is the one that has lied.

Beautiful story and illustrations.
" said.

"4.5 stars

In Fish Girl, the new graphic novel from David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli, readers are taken into the world of a young mermaid who is kept as a star attraction- and money-making draw- by her keeper, Neptune. Kirkus Reviews has described Fish Girl as a 'riveting...adaptation' of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Little Mermaid- and what an on-point, perfect statement that is! Fish Girl is absolutely its own weighty, serious and intense story, but its ties to the Anderson fairy tale are fascinating.

Fish Girl lives her life in an aquatic exhibition run by a man called Neptune. Neptune, as we learn, was a fisherman who apparently took Fish Girl (along with a myriad of other sea life) from the ocean from the time she was a baby. Keeping Fish Girl in a boardwalk exhibition to make money off of teasing exhibition go-ers with the possibility of the existence of a 'real, live' mermaid, Neptune is the keeper of Fish Girl. Aside from her magnificent octopus friend and other sea creatures, Fish Girl only has Neptune...until a young girl visiting the exhibition takes genuine interest and care in getting to know Fish Girl. As Fish Girl gets to know the girl, Livia, she begins to question and investigate Neptune, her claustrophobic life as an exhibition, and how she might escape from her caged life and start a new life on land. Layered and complex, Fish Girl is a more serious, contemplative read with darker undercurrents. Neptune in particular, is an uncomfortable character; he mistreats Fish Girl and baits her with promises of stories about her mermaid family if she behaves and performs well. Fish Girl herself becomes a heroine to root for; readers will likely be captivated (and hopeful) as she attempts to thwart Neptune and escape from what has become- and has likely always been- her oceanic prison.

Overall, Fish Girl is an excellent, potent story. David Wiesner's work is always distinct and impressive; readers who have experienced his wordless and award-winning picture book Flotsam will see once again how majestically he draws sea creatures. The combination of Donna Jo Napoli- an author seasoned in stories based on myth, legends and fairy tales- and Wiesner works wonderfully to bring the singular experience of Fish Girl. A sophisticated and layered story- at times, intense and taut, with sinister undercurrents- Fish Girl works as a graphic novel with definite crossover appeal for older children and teens. Readers who have enjoyed children's or YA graphic novels with more mature subject matter, along the lines of Sunny Side Up, Matt Phelan's Bluffton or Snow White, anything from Gene Luen Yang, David Petersen or Kazu Kibuishi, might especially appreciate Fish Girl.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own.
" said.


Thank you so much to Raincoast Publishing and Clarion Books for sending a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Full of beautiful illustrations that highlight a beautiful story, this is the perfect graphic novel for anyone. Although the story is geared towards a middle-school age, the tale can be reflected onto all of its readers.

The book spins the tale of a mermaid who does not know anything besides the tank she has grown up in. That is until she meets a human girl who is able to change the way she views her life. When Mira, the Fish Girl, meets the girl, she begins to find that she wants to discover more about her life than the tank that she has been kept in. I enjoyed the ending as it wraps up the tale happily, yet still, ends on a sort of cliff-hanger.

The detail that was included in the illustrations definitely caught my attention. All the sea creates had their own appearance, even the building views had little details that made it unique to the tale.

This book is perfect for mermaid lovers of all ages. The storyline can be reflected for both mature middle-school readers or YA readers. But nonetheless, it is a beautiful tale of wanting more in life than always being forced to live within the box.
" said.

" This just wasn't for me. "Neptune" was a jerk, the story line was awkward. The end. " said.

" Gorgeously drawn and a good story too. " said.

June 2017 New Book:

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