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In Over Her Head    by Judi Fennell Amazon.com order for
In Over Her Head
by Judi Fennell
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2009 (2009)
Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After her brothers are called away to active duty, Erica Peck is tasked with running her family's busy marina. She's tried not the let the fact that she's terrified of the ocean interfere with her work and her daily life. But that doesn't stop her sleazy ex-fiancÚ from using that fear to force her into retrieving the priceless diamonds that she unwittingly threw overboard along with her grandpa's ashes.

Reel Tritone is the second son of the High Councilman of the Undersea World. As the royal spare, he's not tied down with a lot of responsibility. The fact that he has no tail makes him something of an outcast among his people, so Reel and his sidekick Chum (a remora with rejection issues of his own) live by their own set of rules, including getting a little too close to humans. Reel's fascination with land dwellers has already gotten him into trouble in the past, and might have had something to do with Erica's terror of the sea. When he comes upon her desperate struggles with her ex, Reel has no choice but to save her from becoming shark bait. But by the time he reaches her, it's too late. In desperation, he turns her from human into a Mer, knowing full well his action is punishable by death.

It doesn't take long for Reel's father to discover what's happened. While he and the Council don't pronounce an immediate death sentence on both Reel and Erica, waiting for the final judgement might simply be delaying the inevitable. Reel and Erica are ordered to retrieve the very diamonds she'd died for, to save the Mer's floundering economy. Now Erica must accompany Reel and various of his fishy sidekicks on a wild undersea adventure to retrieve the diamonds - and be ready to face all manner of dangerous sea creatures, including one very sexy Mer Man who, it seems, has always had a huge crush on her.

In Over Her Head is a fun, totally off-the-wall story that reads like an adult retelling of Disney's The Little Mermaid, complete with role reversal as landlubber Erica finds herself swept off her feet by a handsome, lovelorn Mer prince. Fennell borrows snippets from other fictional sea lore as well, but her flair for injecting humour in both her plot and dialogue marks this story as her own. In Over Her Head is the perfect summer beach read - one that might prompt you to cast the occasional glance out to the briny horizon to catch a possible glimpse of a Mer Man all your own!

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