Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

Overall Review:
Before I get into the book, I just wanted to say that Sarah Ockler is easily one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. The Book of Broken Hearts and Twenty Boy Summer were both amazing books with amazing characters. Despite this fact, however, I was skeptical when I read the synopsis of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. I wasn’t sure how Ockler was going to handle the main character’s inability to speak, and the whole bad-boy-turned-good thing with Christian Kane is kind of a cliché. But since I loved Sarah Ockler’s other books (and also because I love The Little Mermaid, upon which this story was partially based), I decided to take a chance with this novel.
Surprisingly, I loved the book. I loved the characters--even Christian--and I loved the story. Elyse is a completely relatable character, and the memories of how things were before the accident made me mourn for her old self almost as much as she did. I felt frustrated right along with her as she struggled to communicate with the people around her without the use of her voice.
She meets some amazing people throughout the course of the story, like Vanessa and Christian. Vanessa and Elyse’s cousin Kirby are amazing friends, supportive and understanding. And Christian is pretty interesting to read about, cliché or not. He’s really sweet to Elyse, and he’s really patient and encouraging when it comes to Elyse’s inability to speak. He helps Elyse learn how to really live again.
Sarah Ockler’s writing style was as amazing as ever in this book. It was poetic and flowing and just really nice to read.
I tried desperately to grab on to the moment, to the feeling, to hold it in my heart. But beauty is by its very nature elusive, slippery.
A fragment, a flash.
Here and gone again.
The trees shuddered with my heart, and the clouds shifted, returning the forest to its misty gray.
The butterflies took flight.
Then the other.
See? I mean, I’m not totally sure what all that meant, but it sounds pretty, doesn’t it?
So, my rating for this book is about a 9 out of 10. Overall, I would definitely recommend reading it. It’s a sweet, light read that’s perfect for the summer, and if you’re a fan of contemporary YA, you should totally read this book and check out some of Sarah Ockler’s other books, as well.
Thanks for reading,

JC <3

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