Title: The Siren and the Whale
Genre: MG cultural fantasy
Word Count: 42,000
year-old Marie, although abandoned at a young age, hears her mother
calling each night, asking to be found. When an earthquake strikes and a
wave sweeps Marie away, she meets the legendary Siren, a creature who
promises to fulfill Marie’s greatest wish. At first, the Siren’s offer
meets Marie’s every dream; not only does she find her mother, she even
gains the power to reshape the Siren’s city with her mind. With help
from Josephine, the only other girl in the city, and a mysterious whale
whom even the Siren fears, Marie discovers all who remain in the Siren’s
city for too long eventually go mad. When the Siren imprisons
Josephine, the whale is the only one who can help Marie, but she must
choose: leave the city and lose her mother and her new powers forever,
or remain with the Siren and lose Josephine—and herself.
THE SIREN AND THE WHALE is set in Port au-Prince around the 2010 earthquake. A blend ofThe Books of Elsewhere and The Never-Ending Story, it is a modern fairy tale based on Haitian legend.
below the ocean surface, off the coast of Haiti, a twelve year-old girl
named Marie drifted along the currents. Dark waters wrapped around her
like a cocoon as she slept fitfully. Her body twitched and jerked as
images crashed and tossed in her dreams. Children laughed and called hermalsòti, or
“weirdo”. An old woman with dreadlocks peered down over wire-rimmed
glasses and scolded her for being disobedient. Their faces twirled and
crashed together, becoming a giant wave that swallowed Marie, spinning
her around and around until she couldn’t tell if she was up or down.
Help me! she screamed in her dream. Someone please help!
I’m here, dear one, a familiar voice said. I’ll protect you.
waters in her dream parted, revealing her mother’s soft brown eyes that
were the color of warm banana yam pudding. Thin lips stretched from one
high cheekbone to the other in the most beautiful smile Marie could