One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:


When We Believed In Mermaids

Barbara O'Neal

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Kit is shocked at the images on the TV news, a horrific disaster halfway around the world in New Zealand. The scene of death and destruction doesn’t shock her as much as a single person caught on camera, her sister, Josie.

But that’s impossible. Josie died in a terrorist bombing fifteen years earlier in Europe. They hadn’t recovered her body because they barely recovered any bodies from the destruction, but no one doubted she was on the train with her friends.

Yet, there she was. On TV. In New Zealand. Alive.

Kit catches a flight from California for an impossible quest—find her sister in Auckland. The answers lie not just on the other side of the globe, but years before in their unstable childhood. Their parents ran a restaurant that attracted an eccentric mix of patrons and left little time to supervise two little girls. Instead, they were raised by a boy not much older than them, a runaway from an abusive past who taught them his vision of life and the joys of surfing.

As the other narrator, Mari tells her own story of her beautiful family, who know nothing of her past or her real name. She loves her new life, but often thinks of her sister. If she reaches out to Kit, though, she risks exposing her own lies.

The story unfolds slowly, jumping between their childhood and the present. Lies are exposed and memories unearthed. Can two sisters regain their love and trust after years of deceit?

One of my favorite books of the year so far. Rich, complex characters forced to evolve. Intricate layers of mystery. Lyrical writing.


  1. sondra dahl on May 5, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Okay, you hooked me on this one…just bought it….

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