Book Review: Little Women – Mermaid Edition
Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha
A fresh spin on a classic tale: explore family, love, & the sea in this Little Women retelling
Megan Lois Whitehill’s Little Women: Mermaid Edition invokes a number of emotions while reading, but none as strong as happiness, love, and laughter. This merfamily has such beautiful dynamics that you’ll no doubt find yourself emotionally invested in their individual mermaid lives.
As you might have expected, the story revolves around the March sisters from Little Women—but they’re mermaids! While their father is out fighting the army at the Abysmal Trench, Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy are trying to figure out what to give their mother with their limited amount of money. Growing up in poverty, they will have to make the most of what they have.
Now, as they enter the threshold of womanhood, they have to go through the ups and downs of life and find themselves amidst the chaos. Little Women: Mermaid Edition is filled with heartfelt moments, love, warmth, care, family, and self-discovery.
This classic retelling of Little Women is always clear—both how it’s connected to Little Women and the telling of the fresh story. But the strength of the book lies within its characters and worldbuilding.
Just as I want from a retelling of the March sisters, each of them is distinct and lovable. And this world feels so unique and similar at the same time. Merlife is filled with the tasks we encounter as humans and families—all underwater. Another nice touch is that there are some well-placed humorous scenes that make the characters even more likable.
The themes discussed in this book are strong too. Life feels real and raw despite being set 100+ years ago AND completely underwater. It also touches on poverty, selflessness, and accepting flaws. Seeing the family bond and interact with each other remains at the top of the list though.
Every sister goes through changes and comes out as a better person by the end of it. Joining in with the girls as they grow is captivating. They have a lot of fun together, and young readers can too. The book has beautiful illustrations which add to our already-vivid depictions of being a Victorian-era mermaid.
This Little Women retelling stays faithful to the original and yet feels fresh and imaginative. It would appeal to readers who already love the story (and the sisters of course), but it also brings in a new audience of young readers who prefer fantasy. I love that a genre-jumping audience gets to find a new way to hang out the March sisters.
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction / Fantasy / Retelling
Print Length: 376 pages
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