3.61 (718 ratings by Goodreads)
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THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright--the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon--until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday--the day she comes of age. Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 137 x 208 x 28mm | 272g
  • Canada
  • English
  • Original
  • 0373211058
  • 9780373211050
  • 722,745

Review quote

"A fantastical surf-and-turf romance." -Kirkus Reviews"Howard has crafted a page-turning blend of magical realism and fantasy." -Booklist
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About Amalie Howard

Seventeen Magazine Summer Club author Amalie Howard spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn't entirely convinced which takes more guts. Amalie lives in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.
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Rating details

718 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 30% (212)
4 27% (196)
3 25% (181)
2 11% (82)
1 7% (47)

Our customer reviews

Sixteen-year-old Nerissa Marin, daughter and next heir of the Aquarathi's High Court, just wants to be normal. She goes to a normal high school, has normal friends, and does normal girly things like shopping and surfing and field hockey, but when her father is murdered for reasons she knows are beyond political, she is forced to face her greatest fear: sacrifice her "normal" life and return to the kingdom of Waterfell to serve as the reluctant queen. However, Ehmora, an evil and spiteful lower-ranking ruler, wants to take over the fallen kingdom, and is even willing to challenge Riss for the throne, which won't only make her transition to ruler even more difficult, but may reveal secrets about Riss's familyââ?¬â??and about Rissââ?¬â??that are beyond her wildest beliefs. Even though Waterfell is about supernatural beings that live underwater, it is a far cry from your typical mermaid romance. In fact, the species here aren't even mermaids; they're Aquarathi, a vividly created variety of alien, who look more like Loch Ness monsters (but can take on human forms) and reside at the bottom of the ocean. The alternate Aquarathi world Howard constructs is stunning and really elaborate, but that's where my praise for this book ends. As detailed as Nerissa's universe is and as original as the story was, everything is painfully predictable, from the character twists (I guessed Lo's "deep dark secret" the moment we meet him), to the final battle against Ehmora, which isn't only predictable, but also anticlimactic. There are random curveballs thrown into the plotââ?¬â??which I'll refrain from giving away out of respect for spoiler-phobicsââ?¬â??and these are unexpected, but none of them are particularly shocking or significant to the story. The organization of the elements of surprise is very poor; although there is a lot of tension regarding Nerissa's safety and royal obligations, there is no "Oh my god" moment. Waterfell just plateaus at a certain point, and afterwards it's all just very "meh." Even more unfortunately, I really, really disliked Nerissa. She does have her tender, vulnerable moments (in which I momentarily pity her, at best), but there is nothing about her that is friendly or even pleasant. She's quite bitchy, as a matter of fact; I tolerated her as a character, but as a narrator, found her excruciating. Her priorities blur when she meets a charming, troubled boy with mysterious, jolting blue eyes... Lo Seavon, a mere human boyââ?¬â??and yet unlike any human she's met before. As she becomes more and more entangled in the mess that is teenage love, her faith in humanity proves to be her biggest strength and possibly even her most catastrophic downfall... which is just what Ehmora may be anticipating from her. Lo, the love interest, isn't much of an improvement in terms of irritating characters. There's a lot of focus on the color of his eyes and the angle of his smile, but he's so unmemorable and insubstantial, that the entire "romantic" aspect of this book just completely falls apart. There is no spark between him and Riss, no love (none I could feel, anyway). This establishes very flimsy grounds for a YA romance, and I was highly disappointed with it. Another thing that made Waterfell difficult to get through was Howard's penchant for telling, rather than showing. She has a solid style and tells a linear story studded with danger, betrayals, and plenty of secrets, but her superfluous descriptions are exasperatingââ?¬â??eventually, an undemonstrative style gets dull. I swear I'm not being nit-picky, here; there are literally lines and lines that go on like this: "Lo is so arrogant but at the same time sweet, smart, and caring ... He's handsome but troubled." Why would anyone EVER try to summarize such crucial characterization into single sentences like that?! Okay, rant over. Pros: Creative notion of Aquarathi and underwater kingdom // Steep tension (which admittedly leads to a disappointing peak) // Easy to follow; paranormal world well explained // Strong narrative voice // Messages about humanity, friendship, and duty Cons: Hate Nerissa as a person/alien // Romance is a dud; I neither liked Lo, nor did I feel any chemistry // Every. single. character. is annoying and so two-dimensional that it's unrealistic // Terribly anticlimactic // Lots of telling over showing; makes for lots of boring details Verdict: Waterfell shows some promise with its highly imaginative underwater universe, but I couldn't really get into it because of its static, predictable plot combined with even more static, even more predictable characters (Nerissa MARin? Lo SEAvon? That isn't just a coincidence, and it's ridiculous how the naming just go casually unnoticed). Amalie Howard's first in the Aquarathi series isn't miserable; I do think it was worth reading, if only just for the straightforward story, as well as for Nerissa's fascinating transition into the royalty kingdom. If you're looking for a really good toe-curling paranormal young adult romance, however, this would not be the first book I'd recommend you reach for; while it does illuminate upon the humanity of love and how it can both weaken and empower, I found it mediocre at best, and weak in multiple vital areas. Rating: 5 out of 10 hearts (3 stars): Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book. Source: Complimentary ARC provided by publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review as part of the virtual book tour (thank you, JKS Communications!).show more
by Karielle
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin teen and Netgalley.) 16-year-old Nerissa looks like a normal human girl, but is actually a sea-creature taking on the form of a human. Nerissa is also royalty within her kind, and with her father murdered, she's the rightful heir to the throne, but things aren't that simple. While Nerissa is living among humans and going to school, someone else has taken her throne, and it's up to Nerissa to get it back - if she wants to that is. Nerissa isn't sure that she wants to be queen, and she's not sure she wants to go back to her home of Waterfell, to the place where her father was killed. Her subjects are relying on her though. When Nerissa meets Lo, a new boy at school, she's attracted to him even though she doesn't want to be, and slowly she begins to fall for him. Can Nerissa reclaim her throne? Can she defeat the false queen who has taken her place? And can she have Lo when she might have to leave him behind? This was an okay paranormal romance, but I liked the romance a lot more than I liked the rest of the storyline. Nerissa was an okay character, and I kind of admired her for her decision not to go back to Waterfell after her father's death. If she didn't want the responsibility of being queen, and didn't want to go back to the place that reminded her of her murdered father, then fair enough. I did think that she really showed her true colours as we got further into the book though, and showed her royal breeding. The storyline in this was okay, but I did get a bit bored in places. It reminded me a little of 'Of Poseidon' what with the sea creatures living on land, and sharks etc. but it did have its differences too. There was some action, but I just didn't feel all that interested unfortunately. While the storyline wasn't captivating at the beginning, what I did like about this book was the romance. The way that Nerissa and Lo were together was just so sweet! I loved the way they flirted and the way they grew to love each other, and the moments where they were together were just lovely. I really loved the sweet romance, and it totally kept me reading past the boring bits. The ending to this one was okay, but I wish I hadn't read the last two pages, because something that happened between Lo and Nerissa ruined the happily ever after ending. I know that this is a series, and I get that the author wants us to want the second book, but with that romance I want it anyway! Overall; an okay fishy tale, with a sweet and lovely romance. 7.5 out of 10show more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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