cover image Plain Jane and the Mermaid

Plain Jane and the Mermaid

Vera Brosgol. First Second, $22.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-31485-7

Brosgol (Be Prepared) upends “The Little Mermaid” and sets it against a Dickensian backdrop in this tongue-in-cheek fantasy graphic novel. Most people—including her own parents—only give Jane Brown the time of day when making cutting remarks about her freckles, pale skin, and weight. When her parents are killed in a runaway fish cart accident, orphaned Jane’s only hope for stability is to secure her dowry through marriage. But her proposal to blond-haired, blue-eyed fisherman Peter is disrupted when a mermaid kidnaps him. Aided by a cranky selkie she rescues from captivity, a mysterious elderly woman, and a lobster pod, Jane ventures to the ocean floor, where she narrowly escapes death from poisoning, a water demon, and a mermaid’s murderous rage. In her efforts to save Peter, Jane uncovers untapped confidence, realizing that she is more than her looks and that she can decide her own future, especially when she finds her long-lost brother Jamie living among the selkies and restores him to the family’s estate with wildly satisfying results. This rollicking tale of an insecure girl finding her strength and breaking from tradition is another triumph for Brosgol. Ages 10–14. (May)