Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh

Thirsty Mermaids Cover Art

Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh 
Gallery 13 / Simon & Schuster 
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
ISBN: 9781982133573

After running out of shipwreck wine, three drunk mermaids—or actually two mermaids (Pearl and Tooth) and a sea witch (Eez)—decide to transform themselves into humans to find more alcohol. Unfortunately, when they wake up with massive hangovers, Eez realizes she doesn’t know how to turn them back. Now they are stranded in the human world and have to deal with things like housing and jobs until they can find a way home.

The major appeal of this title is the likable characters and the situational comedy moments of the mermaids as literal “fish out of water.” But the story goes deeper than expected and explores themes of found family and body dysmorphia. There is mature language used throughout the title and non-gratuitous cartoon nudity as the mermaids are not used to the human concept of clothing. The binge drinking from the set up is not addressed or condemned in the text, but the characters have to deal with the consequences for their drunken actions throughout the book.

In order to try and figure out how to get the mermaids back to normal, Eez watches mermaid movies for research. Readers may want to emulate her and have a movie marathon with titles like Splash (1984), The Little Mermaid (1989), The Thirteenth Year (1999) and Aquamarine (2006). Two read-alikes are Kurtis J. Wiebe’s Rat Queens, a fantasy comic series for older teens and adults featuring a group of sassy and tough female characters, and Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan’s An Embarrassment of Witches, which is packed with visual humor and focused on friendship in a world where magic is mundane. 

—Kacy Helwick

Other Nominated Titles

  • Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel by Ned Vizzini and David Levithan (adapter) (January 5, 2021)
  • Drifting Dragons, vol. 7 by Taku Kuwabara (December 15, 2020)
  • Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani (June 22, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.

Published by

Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.