Oh, summer. The perfect time to head to the beach—or lake, or pool—and unwind with some lemonade and the cutest floatie you cna find. But before diving into the water, we know what you’re thinking: How am I supposed to pick just one book to pack with me?!
We think mermaids are the perfect answers. Obviously.
They’ve always been a favorite, so magical and relatable—raise your
fin hand if you’re also fascinated by the world around you, have been hit by the wanderlust bug, and have maybe fantasized about casting your own undersea magic. So whether you’re chilling by the pool or the ocean, we’re sure these books about mermaids will become some of your favorites this summer. And who knows, you may just become part of their world after all.
12 Books About Mermaids
TO READ ON YOUR NEXT BEACH TRIP
1. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Want an original tale of The Little Mermaid’s villain? She just might not be the villain after all.
Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.
A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.
2. September Girls by Bennett Madison
We think this will turn out to be the sweet summer romance you’ve been looking for!
When Sam’s dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he’s all for it—at first.
Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him.
Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she’s different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he’s going to get her back, he’ll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here.
3. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
This hilarious, fun, mermaid fantasy combines shades of Hogwarts and Narnia and features one of the most wonderfully snarky main characters you’ll ever find.
The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. Don’t try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border—unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and—best of all as far as Elliot is concerned—mermaids.
Elliot? Who’s Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.
It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.
4. The Siren by Kiera Cass
If you fell head over heels for Maxon and America’s romance, you need to read this book. It combines history, magic, mythology, and, of course, a fight for true love.
“You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won’t lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time…”
The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can’t bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she’s been waiting for doesn’t seem nearly as important as the one she’s living now.
5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Have you ever wanted an epic fantasy—but one that takes place under the sea? And one that leans into the darker side of mermaid lore? If so, you’ll love this standalone tale.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
6. Atlantia by Ally Condie
We can guarantee that this story will keep you guessing until the very end.
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.
7. Part of Your World by Liz Braswell
If you haven’t ventured too far outside of Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid and want to live in that world a little bit long—albeit with a very big twist—then you’ll love this twisted tale.
What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?
It’s been five years since the infamous sea witch defeated the little mermaid… and took King Triton’s life in the process.
Ariel is now the voiceless queen of Atlantica, while Ursula runs Prince Eric’s kingdom on land. But when Ariel discovers that her father might still be alive, she finds herself returning to a world—and a prince—she never imagined she would see again.
8. Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige
Take a tale of an undersea princess, make it a graphic novel, and, oh yeah, did we mention? It’s about the bad#&s Mera, who you may know from a little thing called Aquaman.
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown….
When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry—the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?
9. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Pirates, sirens, and a tale of epic adventure that they’re all wrapped up in—this story will keep you on your fins.
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
10. Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
If you want a story set in a great and unique setting with lovely, water-inspired world-building, then this book is perfect for you.
Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.
11. Emerge by Tobie Easton
This story asks the question: how would the Little Mermaid’s actions impact the rest of mermaid-kind?
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid, but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas.
So Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia’s entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?
That is, until Lia finds out she isn’t the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.
12. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
This epic fantasy series is just as dark and magical as the mythological creatures it’s about, and we know you’ll fall in love with the majesty of it all.
Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation – and burden – that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil.
But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother’s hopes.
When the realm falls into chaos, she and Neela must embark on a quest to find an assassin’s master and prevent a war between the mer nations.
What are your favorite books about mermaids? Let us know in the comments!