42. ‘Lorali’ by Laura Dockrill

Rory, 16, is celebrating his birthday by eating chips alone by the sea in Hastings. When he is caught in a sudden hailstorm he takes shelter under the pier and finds a girl, naked, washed up on the shore. This girl is Lorali, a princess, a Mer and a much-loved daughter whose powerful mother wants her back…


I don’t really read YA, ever. In fact, I probably haven’t read any since I was a young adult myself – that is, in my teens. In general the more simplistic storylines and writing styles don’t really appeal to me, and I felt that Lorali had some of those elements, but it was also quite fast-paced and did a good job of keeping me interested.

I think Dockrill managed to achieve this because she has built up a nicely complex ‘magic system’ around the merfolk in this book (how they come to exist, the extent to which they interact with humans) and she reveals it gradually over the course of the novel, so you’re always left asking questions. There is also a strong eco-friendly message behind the story, especially as we get lots of chapters written from the perspective of the sea, which talks about the oils that thicken it and the rubbish that clogs it up. Having the sea talk to directly to the reader was, I thought, a very interesting idea.

Dockrill also does a pretty great job of combining myth and modernity. There is an absolutely brilliant sequence around the middle of the book where the narrative breaks down in favour of newspaper reports and extracts from online forums – the way she captured the obsessive, delusional attitudes (and punctuation-filled writing) of tweenage girls on internet forums was absolutely hilarious.

As for the plot, it combines peril, romance and mystery quite well, with some darker moments. The love story was a little too ‘love at first sight’ for me (that is, a little fast), but given that the events of this book happen over quite a short period of time (and, I guess, that some teenagers fall in love really easily!) it wasn’t completely unbelievable.

I read Lorali mainly because of the topic (I’m quite into mermaids at the moment) and, although I enjoyed it, I won’t say I’ve been inspired to pick up more YA right away.

“She is so in love with everything and I have never seen anything like that.”

Have you read this book or are you planning to? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Want to read this? You can buy the book here.

What do you think?

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