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Head of Zeus
The Girl Who Thought Her Mother Was a Mermaid
The Girl Who Thought Her Mother Was a Mermaid by Tania Unsworth, illustrated by Helen Crawford-White

Even though she's terrified of the sea, a girl who believes her mum might have been a mermaid runs away to the ocean to solve the mystery of who she really is. Stella is the odd one out. She sleepwalks, is terrified of water, yet obsessed by the ocean. Her mum who died when Stella was eight remains the biggest mystery of all. Who was she and why did she give Stella a necklace called 'the word of the sea' before she died? Nobody can give her any answers. Her father is consumed by grief and her grandmother's memories are fading with dementia.

When Stella's only friend in the world, Cam, moves house, Stella runs away. She's determined to find out who her mum was and who she is too. She ends up in the Crystal Cove, a run-down aquarium with a mermaid show. There she meets Pearl who reveals disturbing secrets. It's only by facing her fear of the ocean that Stella will truly uncover the truth.

This is an exquisitely imagined story about a girl on an adventure above and below the waves.

Head of Zeus, a Zephyr book * Children’s Fiction
12 Jul 2018 * 256pp * £4.49 * 9781788541664
'The story is teasing and suspenseful, and written with vivacity and elegance, and the danger is resolved in a way that is uplifting. This is a beautiful edition, with a zinging jacket by Helen Crawford-White'
Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Book of the Week
Tania Unsworth writes beautifully, and it's hard not to get caught in the current of this magical tale about family and identity
Alex O'Connell, The Times
'A rollicking adventure with some tense nailbiting moments and giddy splashes of magical realism'
'Lyrical writing with a hint of dark magic in a tale of grief, loss and finding yourself'
Fiona Noble, The Bookseller
'[Tania Unsworth is] a master at combining reality with tinges of dark fantasy ... A hugely compulsive novel, with superb characterisation'
Minerva Reads
'A magical early-teen fantasy ... Whimsical and dark in equal measure'
Cork Evening Echo
A brilliant story ... As you dive below the sea, it gives you a whole new perspective on the world. It's a book full of wonder and mystery that leads the reader down a path full of dark magic and a heartfelt story'
Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books
'Written in flowing prose, this might not be a traditional mermaid tale, set under the sea, but it is a well-crafted, lyrical story of family, relationships and self-discovery with a touch of fantasy'
The School Librarian
'An exquisite book about finding the truth; beautifully touching on the start of dementia and how 'being away with the fairies' is a wonderful thing'
Angels and Urchins
'A very enjoyable adventure, where reality mixes with fantasy ... Unsworth's imagination convinces from the first sentence to the last. Her prose is clear and direct and the reader's sympathies are quickly engaged ... This is one to recommend to KS2 readers who are already exploring worlds that challenge the imagination'
Books for Keeps
'Some lovely moving moments ... This is definitely one I'd recommend'
The Bookbag
Tania Unsworth
Tania Unsworth
Tania Unsworth spent her childhood in Cambridge before moving to America in her early twenties. She comes from a family of writers and lives in Boston, USA, with her husband and two sons. Find Tania @TaniaUnsworth1 on Twitter or her website
ALSO BY Tania Unsworth

Helen Crawford-White

Helen Crawford-White
Illustrator Helen Crawford-White lives and works by the sea. She has ten years experience designing covers, illustrating books and creating websites @studiohelen.