Tail of Two Worlds—A Dive into "Secrets of the Deep"

Published 12 Jun 2024
by Anca Antoci

Title: Secrets of the Deep
Author: Marisa Noelle
Released: 19.07.2023
Buy from Amazon
4.06 (read)
Our review:
4.50 (read)

I can’t wait to tell you about my latest read. Normally, I review books right after I finish them. But this time, I had to wait because it’s part of a book tour. That was hard. But today I get to tell you all about Secrets of the Deep by Marisa Noelle.

The story’s premise is why I signed up for this blog tour. Cordelia’s last year of high school in California is marked by the loss of her mother and twin brother in a shark attack. Cordelia is scared of the water because of the trauma and she can't even take baths. When she turns 18, she decides to face her fears and jumps into the ocean to save a friend. When her legs turn into a tail she finds out she’s a mermaid. This isn’t a spoiler as you learn about her mermaid ancestry from the book's description.

Now Cordelia has to handle a world she never knew about. Things start getting complicated between her human world and the mermaid world. The plot thickens when her love interest reveals a dangerous secret. Cordelia must confront her fears and face underwater legends and villains in her new life. She might hold the secret to the underwater kingdom’s survival.

What I loved 

My favorite thing was the world building and the lore. The author made up her own mermaid mythology, with legends, history, and how they get their tails. But my favorite part is that she created a rival race called selachii (shark shifters). Both of these water species have their own distinct bloodlines, including individuals who later become mermaids or selachii.

Cordelia and Wade’s love story is a young adult contemporary fantasy romance with a Romeo and Juliet vibe, set amidst the age-old mermaid versus selachii feud. Cordelia’s life has been marked by tragedy as her mother and brother were killed in a shark attack.

In my opinion, the book effectively combined tension, tragedy, and triumph.


Although the book is marketed as enemies-to-lovers, I feel this is a misunderstanding of the trope. Cordelia and Wade are from the original bloodline of two rival species, but they don’t hate each other—they’re childhood friends. In my opinion, the best way to characterize their relationship is as forbidden love, similar to the story of Romeo and Juliet (except this isn’t a tragedy, so we get a much better ending).

- forbidden love

- mythical creatures

- coming of age story

- betrayal

- quest

What didn’t resonate with me

I loved the storyline and the writing, but I felt like we got too many flashbacks and that pulled me out of the story. However, since it was reasonably fast paced, it didn’t bother me that much.

The plot twists in the story are somewhat predictable, which may disappoint some readers. Perhaps a little less foreshadowing would have worked better. But take everything I say with a grain of salt because I’m not in the target audience. This is YA and I’m well into my 40s and have read hundreds of books. A YA might feel different.

The Characters

The author put great effort into developing and writing the characters.

Cordelia, the protagonist, was a captivating character with a complex storyline. Her grief is palpable as we witness the aftermath of losing both her mother and twin brother, and it becomes clear why she’s terrified of water, despite once being an exceptional swimmer. I also love the dynamic between the characters and how well fleshed out they were.

Friendship plays a significant role in the book, as Cordelia’s connections with Maya and Trent are just as important as her relationship with Wade.


“Secrets of the Deep” is a well-written fast-paced YA fantasy perfect for readers who appreciate a good coming of age story with forbidden love, mystery, adventure, and suspense…and of course, mermaids.

Our final verdict: