Friday 28 June 2019

Book Review: Coral by Sara Ella (YA/Fantasy/Contemporary)

Title: Coral
Author: Sara Ella
Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: 12 November 2019
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved--yet tragic--tale, "The Little Mermaid," Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

There is more than one way to drown.Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans--emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren't stuck at Fathoms--a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what's the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco's golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister's suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again--right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what--and who--must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

I appreciate the author's intent with Coral. Mental health is something that warrants discussion and representation in fiction, and on the whole, I think Sara Ella did a good job portraying the different issues the characters faced in this story. However, I did find the book's structure unnecessarily complicated. Although it all became clear later, the constant jumping between characters and time periods along the way sometimes felt jarring, as did the blend of contemporary and fantasy elements. I struggled to form a strong connection to any of the characters, which made it difficult for me to fully engage with their trials and tribulations. The links to The Little Mermaid are somewhat tenuous, too, especially as the story progresses, and that might alienate readers who come to this work looking for a recognisable fairytale retelling. In the end, I am giving Coral 3.5 stars. As I said, I applaud the author's aims and the issues she wanted to raise in this story. Unfortunately, it just didn't quite come together for me in the execution.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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