Book Club Guide: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

One of our favorite Book Nerd activities is going to book club! Book clubs create community, help us get through our TBR pile, discover new faves, and allow space to talk about our favorite characters. To help with your book club endeavors, we’ve created  book club guides for some of our favorite YA titles. This Skin of the Sea book club guide will help you get the most out of reading Natasha Bowen’s New York Times bestselling fantasy.

If you’re looking for other book club articles, check out 10 Easy Steps to Hosting a Virtual Book Club and don’t forget to tag @getunderlined whenever your book club meets!

Book Club Discussion Questions

  1. Natasha Bowen grew up reading “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen. One question always came to mind for her: Where were the mermaids who looked like her? What classic fairy tales did you grow up reading? How did they shape your perspective? What would you change about them if you could?
  2. How did the Mami Wata and Simidele align with and differ from your idea of a mermaid?
  3. Bowen drew inspiration for Mami Wata and Yemoja from her father’s roots in Nigeria. What stories could you tell based on your own history?
  4. The heart of this story begins when Simi decides to save Kola’s life instead of fulfilling her duty. What would the story look like if she chose differently? What decision would you have made?
  5. Simi clings to the memories of her human life. How do these memories influence Simi’s decisions?
  6. Sharks often shadow Simi’s travels in the waters. Simi remarks, “We both seek those that enter our domain.” What might the sharks represent for her?
  7. How do Simi and Kola’s feelings for one another change throughout their journey? How do these feelings change their journey?
  8. Readers meet many different magical beings and orisas in Skin of the Sea. Which one did you like the most? Which did you fear?
  9. What themes did you notice throughout the novel? 10. How does Bowen use fantasy as a commentary on history? What lessons does she leave her readers?

Read Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Skin of the Sea

Skin of the Sea

The must-read New York Times bestselling Black mermaid fantasy series that #1 NYT bestselling author Nicola Yoon calls “epic and original,” in which one mermaid takes on the gods themselves. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Beasts of Prey.

About the Author

Natasha Bowen is a writer, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. Her debut book was inspired by her passion for mermaids and African history. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog. Follow her on Twitter at @skinofthesea.

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