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Marijuana Mermaid by David-Matthew Barnes {Book tour @lovebookstours}

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

I would like to begin with a large thanks to Lovebookstours for allowing me to be a part of the tour for this coming of age book written by David Matthew Barnes. Marijuana Mermaid is a YA story focussing around a troubled teen and her attempt at redemption after being forced to move cities and move in with her absent father. It was a great story with intrigue and of course some real life mermaids!

Copy of Marijuana Mermaid by David Matthew Barnes


An intriguing coming of age tale...

After getting into trouble at her high school in Chicago, seventeen-year-old Leah Cassels moves to a small seaside town in California to live with her father. Leah's efforts to leave her past behind are put to the test by new friends Monica and Sabina, two popular girls who seem to have it all. While secretly dreaming of becoming the new star of an underwater mermaid show at a local theme park, Leah lands a part-time job at the park's snack bar where she meets Ray Junior. As their new friendship begins to grow, Leah comes to the realization that there's more to him than meets the eye. Encouraged by Ray Junior to stand on her own, Leah tries to distance herself from Monica and Sabina, unaware of the consequences for doing so.

My thoughts

I thought this was a fabulous coming of age story, it had enough characters and different storylines to keep me interested. The pace was fast which I liked as it was a quick read but an enjoyable one at the same time, it didn't feel too rushed.

Leah was a young girl who was hiding behind a front of bravado, she had committed a terrible act in Chicago which caused her to be uprooted and shipped off to her fathers in California. This act in itself was a great start to help Leah shed her tough girl exterior and start her own journey of self-discovery. However the resident mean girls had other ideas. The characters of Monica and Sabina were very vibrant, they practically jumped off the page. Monica was the ultimate queen bee that you love to hate, she was an absolutely awful character and had no redeeming qualities for me. Sabine however seemed less terrible, although she could be tough and mean there was a side to her that I really warmed to.

The blurb is a little misleading as Ray Junior doesn't really become a major role until towards the end of the story, however his role is an important one and it helps Leah to decide what she must do to distance herself from the mean girl pack and forge her own path in this new state.

I enjoyed the side characters within the story, the tale of Leahs dad and his bookstore, as well as his struggling marriage was a nice addition as it gave another slice of depth to Leah. Tammy, Libby and Jeremy all played their part and helped Leah to navigate her way to redemption. Also lets just talk about the mermaids for one minute! I have to say I would love to see a mermaid show, I have always been intrigued by the notion of it and my all time favourite Disney film will always be 'The Little Mermaid'! I can see why Leah found the job appealing although I have to say I would find the whole having to hold my breath under water a little tricky! I'm with Leah on that one!

The only thing I found a little difficult was that the end seemed a bit too rushed for me, I would have liked to find out a bit more about the finale of Monica's journey. I thought it got dismissed a little too readily, some discussion into her past and it becoming unearthed through a confrontation would have been a fitting end. But other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a great story for teens to empower them to stand up for themselves and not follow the pack. It shows that it is possible to carve your own path with your choices and that you really are 'The company you keep'

Author Bio

David-Matthew Barnes is an award-winning author, film critic, playwright, poet, and screenwriter. He writes in multiple genres, primarily young adult, romance, thriller, and horror. He is the bestselling author of twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, and more than sixty stage plays. He has written about and studied many film genres, with a special focus on film noir and horror movies.

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