The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan

I read The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan as part of the Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge, since who doesn’t want to read more mermaid books, right?? :D I actually managed to read it in one day because I was flying 4+ hours with added layover time. If I wasn’t stuck on a plane, I might not have managed this one folks. The Mermaid’s Mirror was good at first, but it quickly went down hill once I was past 50%. I was frustrated with the world-building, insta-love, and strange betrayal in the second half. Warning: Snark abounds.

Note: I received borrowed The Mermaid’s Mirror from the library.


The Mermaid's Mirror by L. K. Madigan 
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on October 4th, 2010
Genres: FantasyYA 
Length: 308 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Book Depository - Goodreads
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Lena has lived her whole life near the beach – walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves – the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman – with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life … 



  • I really enjoyed the first 50% of The Mermaid’s Mirror and had high hopes. There was an interesting mystery surrounding Lena’s mother and why her father fears the ocean so much. We get clear hints that a mermaid really lives in the cove nearby, and I was excited to see how she would be involved.
  • Not many YA’s go for the pre-established relationship, so that was fun to see. You’d think this meant you didn’t need to worry about insta-love, however, you’d be wrong. But the beginning was great!
  • Cole is the younger brother and he is so adorable and sweet. He loves his big sister and his parents very much. I bet many of us wish for a little brother like him, haha.


  •  When there are mermaids, I prefer there to be one lore (or a very well thought-out and cool reason to combine). Mermaids are certainly not all that realistic, but there are sea creatures to base them on somewhat. With that in mind, it doesn’t work for me to have mermaids that both “breathe water” (with magic/magical gills, totally fine with that), and need to surface for air every few hours. It just doesn’t make any sense.
  • On the subject of things that don’t make sense, we are going to combine mermaid and selkies into merlkies (patent pending). No, but seriously, there is a seal cloak that mermaids can wear to look like seals when they want to spy on humans. This same cloak protects a mermaid who switches to legs and goes on land (because the painful leg transformation wasn’t enough), AND allows a human to swim with the fishes (and breathe water) until she truly accepts life under the sea. This is the magical seal cloak that does everything folks. The mermaids have scaly fish tails by the way, they aren’t actually selkies in disguise (or does the cloak do that too??? >.>).
  • From the start of The Mermaid’s Mirror, you’d think you would be protected from insta-love, but no, there is always a way. Insta-love in a can, get it while supplies last! (I can’t give more details because of spoilers.)
  • The mermaid world was rather flat and reminded me heavily of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, except they live in nomadic structures to hide from the humans, ooOOoo.


I think this might have been my snarkiest review yet! The Mermaid’s Mirror had perfectly pleasant writing, but I just can’t get over a book that doesn’t have a well thought-out magic system and insta-love. If those things don’t bother you, give it a try, you might like it! I personally am amazed that I finished The Mermaid’s Mirror looking back on it….