Merryn lives with her father in a cottage on the cliffs above the sea. It is just the two of them because her mother died 7 years ago. Merryn's father is a fisherman, but he has been bringing in a smaller catch each day. Then, one day, he doesn't return from the sea. Merryn has a dream of a giant octopus-type creature pulling his boat beneath the waves and she awakes knowing that he needs her help. She does what any spunky 12-year-old would do; she builds a submarine and sets out to rescue her dad. Along the journey she meets a mermaid, leviathans, mechanical sea horses, submersible drones, and other wonders as she tries to track down her missing father.
Merryn reminds me of Nim from Kelly Orr's books (Nim's Island, Nim at Sea, and Return to Nim's Island). They both have a dad, but no mother. They both are very capable and independent. And they both have skills that you don't normally associate with kids their age. One of the cool things about the story is that there is no emphasis on how pretty or how popular Merryn is. Instead, it focuses on her problem-solving, her perseverance, and her ability to find friends in unlikely places. She has skills with tools. She is smart enough to puzzle things out. She is brave enough to face her fears and the unknown to save her father.
This is the sort of book that parents are looking for when they say they want positive role models for their daughters, something besides princesses and fairies. What makes it even better is that the author was inspired to write it by his own daughter. There is also the video game that follows Merryn's quest to rescue her dad, and you can find more information about it at http://www.insomniacgames.com/games/s....
This is a middle grade story (170 pages) with an illustration to start off each chapter and action that keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. The ending comes to a satisfying conclusion, but leaves open the possibility of a sequel.
I received an ARC of the book from the publisher for review purposes.
* Update - 08/01/2016 We have added this title to the Fairview Library.