The surface breaks

“The little mermaid in a renewed and modern look”.


Deep in the sea, on the cold Irish coast, mermaid Gaia dreams of a life without her tyrannical father. Gaia is the youngest of six sisters and is praised for this by her father. Gaia’s mother died on her first birthday and Gaia would like to find out what the human world had to do with her moms passing. When she finally gets to swim to the surface on her fifteenth birthday, she falls in love with a human boy. She longs for a life above water. But how high is the price she has to pay for this?


I have always loved mermaid stories, especially the little mermaid. The surface breaks is a feminist retelling of the Little Mermaid. Right up my alley, right?

Frankly, it took me a long time to get through this book. I think I picked up this book about a year ago, then put it back after two chapters. I decided to give the book a second chance, and I am very happy that I did this.

This book is not very focused on the romantic side of the story, what you would expect from this retelling. I think this is a very surprising twist.

I liked Louise O’Neill’s writing style, but I sometimes got a bit annoyed by the long chapters. Good think I ignored this and kept on reading – I wanted to know what kind of twist O’Neill would give to the story.

The book ended with a very good feminist message, which you don’t expect.


A good retelling with a surprising twist. I would highly recommended this book if you like Disney and mermaid stories. I would also recommended this if you like stories with a dark twist.

Product information
Written by: Louise O’Neill
Pages: 265
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407185538
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