A lively mystery that finds Vivien searching for the truth about her past and the town where she lives. Despite being sceptical, Vivien fiercely defends the legend of the mermaid in her hometown of Lake Splendour. This leads her into an exciting adventure, danger and ultimately the appreciation her true friends.

The Legend of the Mermaid brings tourist trade to Lake Splendour. Vivien doubts the truth of the legend but knows that her family’s livelihood depends on it. Vivien struggles with her own self-doubts, mainly caused by her absent mother and she begins to question everything in her life. She argues with her friends and is drawn to bold but manipulative Alice. Vivien and Alice embark on an adventure to uncover the real mermaid story. Eventually Vivien does uncover the truth and it is very unexpected.

This is a story that gently explores the angst of a teenager who is struggling to find her own identity. Older readers will empathise with Vivien’s issues and understand her desire to follow Alice, despite having concerns over Alice’s behaviour. Themes of friendship, bullying, consideration for others and body image are explored within the story. There are a varied range of family settings and these are presented to show how supportive love can be. The ending is clever and surprising. The true legend of the lake is actually much more interesting and provides real cause for celebration with the town.

This is a story for readers aged ten and above. Many issues are raised that would lead to meaningful discussions of problems common to teenage children. The story also introduces historical information about mermaid legends and the suffragette movement. Alex Cotter cleverly weaves elements of numerous mermaid myths and legends throughout the story in names and details. There is a helpful glossary at the end of the book.