Realm Award Finalist for Best Debut, 2018
Parable Award Finalist, 2018
Alliance Award Semi-Finalist, 2018

Mermaids. Murder. Mayhem.

A red tide is rising.

Seventeen-year-old Jade is recently engaged to a handsome soldier and about to choose her own career. But she didn't expect to witness a murder.

When her fiancé kills a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she'd ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean's fragile peace.

Can the city's divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?

Breakwater is the first novel in a spine-tingling series of YA mermaid fantasy books. If you like enigmatic mystery, stirring romance, and harrowing intrigue, you'll love Catherine Jones Payne's riveting underwater world.

Plunge into a page-turning adventure perfect for fans of Carrie Anne Noble, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer Donnelly, and Kiera Cass.

Current Stock:
Catherine Jones Payne
240 pages
Fathom Ink Press
Age Range:
14 and up

Reviews Hide Reviews


Liora on Jul 8th 2019

I have never really liked reading at all until I read this book! It kept me interested and will definitely recommend! Now buying the other two.

Such a fascinating world!

Laura A. Grace on Dec 7th 2018

I was super bummed that I was unable to read this book in one sitting as I wanted to, BUT each time I returned back to BREAKWATER, it pulled me right back in (no pun intended, since you know, water currents and all). The world-building was really fascinating and loved the ways the author brings Jade's world to life. Kiki was so cool and totally made me want to have a pet dolphin! I thought it might be a little strange reading a story where everything takes place under water, but it wasn't nearly as strange as I originally thought. Plus, it's super cool to see beautiful fish come by. One of the things I loved most about this story was the overall message. I thought it very prevalent to today and thought about how I could show the same bravery as Jade did. She consistently went against the standards of what society said she had to be and do. She truly tried to love others that were supposed to be looked down upon (due to her status) and took it upon herself to be a voice for those who couldn’t be (talk about inspiring me to use my voice to make a difference!). Even more so, I loved how she was reminded that none of the events taking place as a result of her taking a stand for another was her fault. I felt that to be so important and glad Jade was reminded of this. The only thing I was really disappointed about was the near ending with Alexander. I don't want to give anything away, but I loved the introduction of his character and looked forward to having him back on the scene again. However, when he was I felt like he was a character who was pushed aside too quickly with no kind of say in anything (regardless of the situation). This was a really interesting read with a powerful message of loving others and taking a stand for what's right, even if it's against what society says. Would definitely recommend this story to YA readers who are looking for something that's not "shallow" and has a “deeper” meaning. *(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and was not required to write a positive review.)*


Cheryl RW on Dec 6th 2018

I loved this book! First of all, that cover!!! The story is about a young and privileged mermaid who is soon to be married to an up-and-coming mer from a very powerful family. Jade has her whole future mapped out and even if she isn't marrying for love, she is marrying well. Shortly into the story, she comes face to face with her fiancé holding the dead body of a naiad. He tries to explain. She wants to believe. But she has her father in her and she cannot turn away from the awful truth. She has to pursue what is right even as the cost of choosing honor begins to cost her dearly. Jade believes that all along she has been kind and compassionate to the naiads but soon realizes that she, too, has never bothered to understand their plight. She is drawn more and more into their world. Trying to come to terms with what their life has been like as underlings to the mer. When I reached the ending, I cried noooooo. How long do I have to wait for Book 2? There is so much in this story to delve into and so much I want to know. What was the naiads world before they came to this city? I want to know more about the romance of Jade and Alexander when they were younger. And I definitely want to find out what happens with the battles that are most assuredly to come. This book all happens in a short amount of time. I am anxious to see how Jade matures and develops as she is inevitably drawn into defending the innocent from those who surely believe they are invincible.

Great Mermaid Tale

Ingrid on Dec 6th 2018

I purchased this book because of it's cover (yes I judged a book by it's cover. don't judge me lol). The cover design is just stunning. But also because of the description sounded like a fun book to read. I was hooked. It's an exciting underwater world. Just using my imagination from the descriptions I so want to go! There is a small amount of romance; nothing too deep and descriptive. Just the right amount of star crossed lovers situation. But mostly of this amazing young woman doing the right thing and all the trails and tribulations that come along. I let my younger daughter read it so she can enjoy this story with me. We need more books with good strong female characters.

A surprisingly good "tail"

Kerry Nietz on Dec 6th 2018

This book wasn’t what I expected. As striking as the cover is (...and I think it is masterful...) the palette suggests a story with a certain level of “mush”, possibly more than I’m accustomed too. Plus, mermaids. Never know with mermaids. So, I was delighted to find a story that’s driving force isn’t romance, but murder and intrigue. The narrative is tightly written. I never lost interest, which is saying a lot for a sci-fi guy like me. The characters were clearly drawn and memorable, and the ending had some nice twists. There was some romance, but it fit the story. Didn’t feel forced or overdone. If I would criticize anything, I think I might have liked a little more description of the mermaid world. Some writers are fearful of too much description—and there is that danger—but the more dissimilar a setting/society gets from ours, the more help the reader needs to “turn the lights on”. Don’t get me wrong, the description is adequate, but there were certain instances where I found myself wondering how the scene looks. (For instance, if a mermaid sits down to eat a salad, how does that work? Are the ingredients sort of floating in front of her, or are they tied to the bowl, or what? I want to know!) All in all, "Breakwater" is a surprisingly good “tail”. I’m curious where the currents will take it