Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?
When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for sending me an advanced readers copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
"You are not nothing."
Such a beautiful phrase and one of my biggest takeaways from Coral. This is an emotional story that dives into the world of depression, anxiety, and suicide through the use of the classic Little Mermaid fairy tale. I was a bit nervous to start reading this book - mental health is never an easy topic - but I'm really glad I picked it up.
Such an Interesting Take on the Fairy Tale
Fairy tales seem to continue to inspire authors and readers alike, and there are no shortage of retellings available to enjoy. I wasn't sure what to expect from Coral; the original Little Mermaid story is incredibly sad, while the Disney version is obviously adorable. So where would Sara Ella decide to take her story? I was both surprised and happy with how she decided to take this fairy tale and rework it for a contemporary setting; she does a wonderful job building this story around very real concerns in today's world and I loved how her version ended.
Very Unique Storytelling Style
This story was beautifully woven together! Told from the perspective of three characters - Coral, Brooke, and Merrick - Coral brings us on each of their journeys, ultimately bringing us to when their stories become intertwined. That said, I couldn't figure out when they would all meet and was impressed with how it happens. It was unexpected, and I love when I'm surprised! I felt like I was flying through the last half of the book as the three stories begin to merge and we know we're on the cusp of figuring everything out...but there's definitely going to be more pain before things get better.
Mental Health is a Constant Battle
Coral does a beautiful job of reminding readers that mental health conditions - anxiety, depression, and any number of other conditions - are a constant battle to overcome. There is no cure, no "get over it"; there is just waking up every day and fighting to find the right regiment of medication, therapy and other factors to continue trying to live a happy life. Coral gives us the different perspectives of those who are touched by mental health conditions. Merrick is struggling to understand his sister, Brooke is trying to figure out if she wants to live, and Coral wants someone to blame. Ultimately, this is a story that shows that healing is a process and not everyone can be helped, but it's up to everyone to do everything we can to be kind and remind ourselves and each other that we are not nothing.
I thought this was a beautifully told story, although there were some moments that were a bit confusing once I understood the storytelling style. HOWEVER, I think this was a very strong story from the different point of views of those who are affected by mental health conditions and I look forward to adding this book to my school library when it is published. I'd recommend Coral to readers interested in contemporary YA fiction, fairy tale retellings, or those wanting a unique perspective on mental health.
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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