Fish Girl is a layered and surprisingly dark graphic novel is a fascinating twist on the classic mermaid story.

Title: Fish Girl
Author: Donna Jo Napoli and David Wiesner
Illustrator: David Wiesner
Rating: 8.5
Readability: 8
Raincoast Books for review

Description from Goodreads:

In this graphic novel, a young mermaid, called Fish Girl, living in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl’s longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank.

What I Thought:

On the surface this is a classic coming-of-age story where a young girl finds her freedom.

My (almost) five-year-old daughter loved this book, although since she’s quite advanced for her age I would peg this book as being best for kids around the ages of 8-12.

The illustrations are beautiful, including some full-page spreads that are incredible. The idea of having the entire house as an aquarium is brilliant and was one of my favourite parts.

But dive a little deeper, and the subject matter is actually quite mature. Evelyn didn’t quite understand all of the meaning behind it, but this is a book that deals with a girl’s abduction, confinement, and mental abuse.

“Rescued” from the sea as an infant, her captor poses as the sea-god Neptune. She initially believes that he has her best interests at heart, but after meeting a human girl and discovering pictures, she realizes that he has been lying to her for years. For his own profit.

I don’t want to give too much away since this is really quite an interesting book, so I recommend that you read it for yourself!

Here’s what Evelyn thought:

“It was a little scary and a little not scary. It was cool. I liked it. My favourite was the part where she had a tail. And then that thing happened but I can’t say it because it’s a surprise. That was so cool. The Fish Girl was my favourite. I really liked the book. I want to read it again in two days. Also tell everyone that my birthday is coming up.”


Here’s a page from the story:

Illustration from Fish Girl

This review is a part of a blog tour for Fish Girl! Make sure to check out the other reviews as well!



♫ Betchya on land they understand. Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters. Bright young women. Sick of swimming. Ready to stand. ♫