Melissa Maerz
November 08, 2014 AT 05:00 AM EST

Mermaids in Paradise

Current Status
In Season
Lydia Millet

We gave it a B+

What looks like a novel about mermaids is actually a deft satire about another species: the ethical human. In Mermaids in Paradise, Deb and her husband, honeymooning in the Caribbean, discover ”mers” in the reefs. The resort wants to turn them into theme-park attractions, but the couple try to save the mers, which puts them in danger. As Millet ramps up the suspense, she pokes fun at the human need to classify everything, from marine life to other people. If the ending seems over-the-top, well, the author—who has a degree in environmental policy—might say that our crimes against nature are just as absurd. B+

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