St. Martin’s Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $17.99
On summer vacation sixteen year old Gemma Fisher swims all day at the nearby pool where her coach observes her laps. However, she prefers her late night swims at Anthemusa Bay though her father and her older sister Harper disapprove because three people have recently vanished. When her car breaks down, her neighbor Alex takes her to the bay. At the cove, three girls begin singing, which has Alex swimming towards them until Gemma gets him to leave with her. Gemma wonders about the beautiful newcomers (Penn, Thea, Alexi and Arista) who have interrupted the tranquility of her nocturnal swims.
One night Penn, Thea and Alexi lure Gemma to join them near the water. When she awakens the next morning she is battered from head to toe but has no lucid memories of the night before. Gemma realizes she is no longer just the best swimmer locally but so much faster with greater endurance than she was. She also has uncanny healing skills that she had not possessed before that strange night and though already beautiful has become even prettier. The three girls explain that curses are blessings in disguise, but Gemma’s gut warns her that her new friends are concealing the downside.
This is an engaging opening act of the Watersong horror thriller starring a fascinating protagonist who must choose between her previous life she loved and a new existence that makes her even stronger as a creature of the sea. The fast-paced storyline ends with a fabulous cliffhanger but the characters are not fully developed so that key relationships like between the siblings seem shallow. Still with tugs on her heart, fans will wonder whether Gemma swims with Alex or with the sirens.