Sunday, July 8, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 254: The Surface Breaks, by Louise O'Neill

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

The Surface Breaks
Louise O'Neill
Hardcover, 320  pages
May 3, 2018
Fairy Tale Retellings, Feminist Fiction,
Mythology, Romance,
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a very whimsical-looking, lovely cover! And how ironic, too, since, according to the reviews I've read on Goodreads, this book is a rather dark, adult novel, in spite of the references to "The Little Mermaid", and in spite of the "Young Adult Fiction" category. So I would say that this cover is a bit misleading, because it sure looks like something created by the Disney Company!

Well, in spite of my comments above, I do love this cover! It's symmetrical, in a way, but not entirely. The objects on each side do not exactly mirror each other, but there's a sense of unity throughout. I love all of these symbolic objects, too! They each point to an element in the story, I'm sure. I haven't read this novel, so I really don't know, but I would imagine so.

The most salient feature of the cover is actually the mermaid's hair. It flows around the edges, framing the title and author's name. This is a very creative, lovely effect! And the red contrasts very well with the other colors on this cover, too.

I also love those sea plants at the bottom of the cover. Again, the contrast with the young girl's hair is very nice!

The only hint that this book is not a happily-ever-after Disney tale is the mermaid's downcast expression. This is the one discordant element in the whole cover. Perhaps this was meant as a rather sardonic note in the whole composition.

This brings me to the only thing I don't like about this cover: it's much too "Disneyish" for the story being told, which is, as I stated above, much darker. This retelling is actually in keeping with the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, which is indeed a rather sad one. Other than this misleading aspect, though, I am enchanted with the illustration!

As for the font used for the title and author's name, it's fine, as it's similar to the one used for the cartoon movie, and thus, is a reference to it.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to locate any information about this terrific cover artist..... I will do another search later on today, as it's now pretty late. Lol. If I find anything, I'll come back and update the post. Gotta hit the sack now!  :)

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. I really like this cover too. I love the shade of red. I especially like the shade of blue. I also think that the two go very well together. As you mention, the red melds well with everything else. I also like the way that the fish, birds, shells, starfish and Octopus tentacles are drawn.

    have a great week Maria!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Yeah, it's a GREAT cover! Glad you agree!

      All the small motifs you mention are rather cute, I think. They all add to this cover's overall whimsical look.

      Hope you have a great week, as well! Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

  2. I love this cover but agree with your concern that it doesn't really fit the darkness of the subject matter. You can imagine this is one I'd really enjoy checking out. Although I'm reading Christina Henry's "The Mermaid" right now and as I'm not a HUGE fan of mermaid stories, I would need to give it some time in between.

    1. Hi, Barb!

      I'm glad you agree that this cover really doesn't fit the darkness of the story. Maybe the style of this illustration is intentional, in that it's ironic. The mermaid's downcast expression is the only clue to the darkness.

      I haven't heard of "The Mermaid", but will look up on Goodreads. I LOVE mermaid stories myself, but, of course, everyone has different tastes. :)

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. I, too, love the cover - but share your misgivings regarding the tone. This one gives the impression that this would be reasonably upbeat and as you say, the original fairy tale is a heartbreak...

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      I'm glad that you, too, agree about this cover! It really does NOT with the darkness of the story. However, as I mentioned to Barb in the comment above, the illustrator's intention might have been irony. I still don't think it fits the story, though. Lol.

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!!! <3 ,3 <3 :) :) :)


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