Synopses & Reviews
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect... or a curse? With Ezra's help, Hester investigates her family's strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean — but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
"Seventeen-year-old Hester Goodwin has already decided to be celibate: 'Love. Sex. Loss. It was safest to avert the whole sequence.' Her mind is on the deaths in her family new mothers withering within days of childbirth, generation after generation. She is determined not to add to this macabre pattern, but she can't stop wondering about it. When an apparent coincidence brings an old murder-suicide to her attention, Hester soon finds it's connected with her family history, and the deeper she delves, the eerier the echoes with her own life become. In a chilling and original story, Fama (Overboard) alternates chapters between Hester and Syrenka, an ancient mermaid with a penchant for human men. Syrenka is no Ariel to gain human lungs, she eats a pair but her plight tugs at the same heartstrings as that of another monster, Frankenstein's. The alternating narrative device can make for stutters in the momentum, and there are stretches (notably when genealogy is rehearsed) where the plot trudges. The horror and humanity are adroitly handled, however, and Fama never lapses into cliché. Ages 12 – up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[T]his stylish fantasy mesmerizes." Kirkus
"Fama (Overboard, 2002) delivers a beautifully written, romantic ghost story with an artful construction that incorporates a murder mystery and detailed historical fiction." BCCB
"History buffs, fantasy lovers, and mystery fans will all find something to please them in this engrossing story." School Library Journal
About the Author
Elizabeth Fama is the author of Overboard, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, which appeared on five state lists. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.