The Siren

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Siren Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
A light, enjoyable read for romantic-fantasy fans.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

American Sign Language sign for "no" described. A few brief facts about oceanography and geography.

Positive Messages

There's always room for love, meaning that your love for a family member, for example, isn't diminished because you're in love with someone. You can't change the past, but you can choose how you live today. Simply being alive isn't enough to be called living. You need to try things to find out what about the world is important to you. There's a kind of beauty in fulfilling your duty even if it's all you're capable of doing; eventually you'll be able to do more.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kahlen and the other sirens are loyal and caring toward each other and model strong sisterly bonds. They willingly fulfill their duty to the Ocean, even though Kahlen especially is plagued with guilt about luring ships and the people aboard to their doom. They sometimes use fake IDs to get into nightclubs, and some of the teens drink, although Kahlen doesn't care for it. Akinli is a model boyfriend: caring, easygoing, never pressuring Kahlen and always following her lead.


Shipwrecks and drowning are a prominent theme, and several are briefly described without gore. A past murder of a family, including an infant, is mentioned. Cautionary tales of past sirens who were disobedient being taken away, possibly to be experimented on or killed. Past physical and psychological abuse including beatings and attempted murder mentioned. One time Kahlen is in peril of being killed. Blood from an illness is mentioned once but not described.


One kiss, not described. Past mention of a teen who got pregnant and was abandoned by the father. Occasional mention that one of the sirens has had many lovers.


Very rare use of "ass" and "damn."


Bottles of Mountain Dew in a dorm room mentioned once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink unspecified but presumably alcoholic beverages at a nightclub and see someone passed out there. Past mention of cleaning up puke after being the designated driver. Old cigarette smell at nightclub mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Siren is a romantic fantasy from Kiera Cass (the Selection series), in which the narrator, Kahlen, becomes one of the sirens of myth who lure ships at sea to their doom. There's little of concern, with only one kiss; rare, mild profanity ("ass" and "damn"); a few shipwrecks and drownings described briefly without gore; and an emphasis on eerie atmosphere.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byiwolfv18 June 12, 2019

It was good.

After reading all the books of The Selection series, I was able to pick up this book right away and I really enjoyed it. I don't give it a full 5 stars, mo... Continue reading
Adult Written byrebma97 March 18, 2016

3.5/4 stars

I really enjoyed this! It wasn't a deep read or anything, but it was very entertaining, engaging, and a fun, light read. Achilles' character was prett... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytizzfizz06 January 14, 2018

Enchanting Story perfect for tweens/teens to understand love...

I cried when reading this book and have read it again and again always being moved to tears. This is the first book by Kiera Cass that I'm reading and I am... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysilverwolf002 February 27, 2016


This book is amazing. I was actually moved to tears when reading this. It was sad, happy and sweet at the same time. True love.

What's the story?

When Kahlen's cruise ship goes down, Kahlen's will to live brings her before the beautiful sirens who caused the ship to sink. They offer her a new chance at life in exchange for 100 years serving the Ocean as a siren. Kahlen accepts the bargain. Now 80 years have passed, and Kahlen finds the Ocean's demands more and more difficult each time she helps bring a ship down. Although forbidden to speak to humans, she meets college student Akinli and the two fall in love. Kahlen hides her forbidden love for a while, but eventually the truth comes out. How can she fulfill her duty to the Ocean when her heart belongs to a human?

Is it any good?

Romance fans will enjoy this light fantasy from Kiera Cass, a veteran of the genre. It’s an imaginative, insider’s look at a siren’s life. Tweens and teens will enjoy rooting for Kahlen to find a way to be with her beloved Akinli, and they'll easily relate to her as she rebels against the Ocean's strict demands.

Cass's prose has a nice, rhythmic quality, although her ear for dialogue is not as finely tuned and many exchanges are stilted and contrived. For romance fans only.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about combining romance with fantasy. Why are books that combine the two so popular?

  • If you were offered a chance to start life over but had to pay for it with 100 years of service, would you? Why do you think Kahlen accepted the bargain?

  • All Kahlen wants from life is to fall in love and get married. If she does, what do you think the rest of her life will be like?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and romance

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