Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
From Booknerd 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."
My thoughts: This is not "The Little Mermaid"! Elizabeth Fama weaves a tale of murder, curses, and the paranormal that emphasizes the more dangerous aspects of mermaid lore. Two separate stories come together in a tale that begins with Ezra and Syrenka (fun fact: Syrenka means mermaid in Polish!), and ends with Hester, a modern day girl struggling to figure out the mystery of why generations of women in her family die days after giving birth. Because of violence, sexual situations, and language, I recommend this book to older teens and adults.