The Best Mermaid YA Books

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

When I can’t be near the sea or swim in my mermaid tail, at least I can read books about mermaids! My favorite books take me away to magical places and underwater kingdoms full of merfolk and adventure.

Fantasy is my favorite genre for books. I’ve been reading books about fantastical adventures and mythical creatures ever since I was young. Some of my favorite books were Alice in Wonderland, the Harry Potter series, and the Magic Tree House series.

I’ve always loved mermaids, but I really became obsessed with mermaids while in high school. High school was a rough time for me, but reading magical works of fiction really helped me muddle through. I remember spending huge chunks of time in the library and frequently leaving with a tall stack of books (most of which I didn’t end up reading).

It was always a treat when I could combine my love of mermaids with my love of reading. Every once in a while, I found a gem amongst rows and rows of books, and I will share those gems with you. Here are some of my favorite young adult novels about mermaids.

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Firewater Saga

By Jennifer Donnelly

This series is about a mermaid princess whose life erupts into chaos when a war begins in the underwater world.

You'll meet mermaids from all parts of the world, different climates, and different bodies of water, even a swamp witch mermaid.

There are six mermaid heroines of the story who must travel together to find six talismans to defeat an evil monster named Abbadon. They build unbreakable bonds during their magical quest to fulfill a prophecy and save all the mermaid realms.

Encounter many unique mythical creatures, magic, fascinating mermaid lore, romance, and exciting action scenes for an overall adventure of a story.

Lost Voices trilogy

By Sarah Porter

This series tells the story of a young girl named Luce. Luce lived with her creepy uncle, who had to raise her when her father went missing at sea.

After a bad experience, she transforms into a mermaid and becomes a part of a pod of mermaids who were all once human but transformed into mermaids after tragedy struck in their lives.

Luce falls in love with the mermaid life, but things get complicated when she develops feeling for a human boy.

Some of the themes include friendship, betrayal, loss, reunion, young love, and adolescence.

Follow the adventures the mermaids have and the struggles they encounter when humans discover their existence.

The Mermaid

By Christina Henry

This book is about a mermaid named Amelia, who can transform into a human. She left her family and married a sailor named Jack, but after the sea takes him she wants to experience the human world and travel. She realizes she needs money to do so.

She meets P.T Barnum, the owner of a museum of curiosities, and decides to work for him in a real live mermaid exhibit. She finds that he is exploiting her and has her under a strict contract. They constantly butt heads. Fortunately, Amelia becomes close to the wife of Barnum and his business partner Levi, who help her navigate her new situation.

Things get rough when she begins to gain attention from a group of religious zealots who think she is an evil creature from the devil.

This story incorporates themes such as women’s rights, love, greed, and religion.

The Sea Witch

By Sara Henning

This is an origin story for Ursula from the Little Mermaid, but it is much different than you'd expect.

Evie is a good-spirited human girl who practices magic in her small seaside town. She has to keep her magic a secret because the town does not approve of witches.

She meets a mermaid who has turned into a human and they become good friends. She finds out that her mermaid friend only has a few days left to be human before turning into seafoam. She can only remain human if she finds true love. The mermaid is not the only one seeking love. Evie experiences romantic feelings for her friend, the Prince’s, cousin, who gives her mixed signals.

The story explores themes such as friendship, love, grief, ostracism, classism, and womanizing.

In the end, you find out what circumstances turn Evie into the tentacled mutant witch from Disney's The Little Mermaid. The book is concluded with Evie’s transformation, but the second book will dive into a new story in which Evie is the evil sea witch.


By Donna Jo Napoli

If you are interested in Greek mythology then you will enjoy this book. It takes time during the Trojan war.

Sirena is a siren who, with her sisters, sings to the soldiers on their way to war causing them to crash their ship. She doesn’t want to kill men though, she wants to be loved by one, allowing her to live forever.

The sole survivor is discovered by Sirena, who falls in love with him as she nurses him back to health. Her relationship with him is in defiance of the goddess Hera. All along she wonders if he truly loves her or if it is her siren song that keeps him there.


By Carolyn Turgeon

Mermaid is a spin on the classic tale The Little Mermaid. It involves two princesses, one a mermaid and the other a human who is being hidden away in a convent while her father's kingdom is at war.

The human princess, Margarethe, witnesses a mermaid rescue an injured sailor by bringing him to the shore. She takes in the man in to nurse him back to health, but she soon learns he is the son of her fathers rival.

The mermaid, Lenia, decides to give up her voice, her family, and her tail, for a chance to win the prince’s heart. She and the prince fall in love, but in attempt to bring the two kingdoms together, Margarethe and the prince are arranged to be married, complicating the two princess’s friendship, and threatening Lenia’s life. She will die if the prince marries someone else.

This beautiful story deals with love triangles, friendship, war, politics, and sexuality. Mature readers only.

Honorable mentions:

The Siren By Kiera Cass

Ingo By Helen Dunmore

Aquamarine By Alice Hoffman

Monstrous Beauty By Elizabeth Fama

Forgive My Fins By Tera Lynn Childs

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