The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

by Sarah Ockler

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Overview

From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer comes a “compelling and original” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about a talented singer that loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.

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 suppresses 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…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481401272
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and Twenty Boy Summer. Her books have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten, and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. She lives in Washington with her husband, Alex. Visit her at SarahOckler.com and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Read an Excerpt

Summer of Chasing Mermaids



  • Chapter 1

    After spending the day in Aunt Lemon’s gift shop with a sticky note in the shape of a crab stuck to my boomsie (and no one even told me until after I’d escorted a pair of surfers to our collection of mermaid dashboard ornaments, and then my cousin Kirby sent me the picture, all, u got crabs!), I decided a little alone time was in order.

    If not for the crab incident, I probably would’ve just gone to Lemon’s Summer Solstice party tonight like I’d promised. Instead, I was slithering around the Chelsea Marina docks, hoping to reach my boat before Kirby ensnared me in her net.

    “Elyse!” Kirby shouted. “The party’s starting!” In a gauzy white dress and fitted denim jacket, she stood like a beacon in the sand, hands cupped around her mouth. Her voice skipped across the waves. “Where are you? Elyse!”

    She wasn’t my blood cousin—Her mother, Lemon, was Dad’s best friend, all the way back from their graduate-school days in Miami—and before this summer I’d only seen Kirby twice: the first time five years ago when they’d visited the islands, and then again a year later when our two families met up at Disneyland, my first visit to America.

    But I’d been in Oregon a month already now, living in her house, our toothbrushes cohabitating in the zebra cup in the bathroom, and still she couldn’t get my name right. Uh-leese, it was like.

    Close enough, maybe. It just didn’t sound-feel-comfort like home.

    Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . .

    Ay-leese, stop drowning yourself in hot sauce. Give it to me!

    Granna, you hear? Our Ay-leese, she got a boyfriend.

    Ay-leese, breathe! Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . .

    “But it’s the Solstice! And there’s . . . cake?” Kirby’s voice lacked conviction. She’d been searching the edges of the marina for twenty ­minutes, and I felt a little thrill that she hadn’t found me.

    Unseen in the shadows, I crept to the slip that held the old Albin Vega—last place on earth she’d check, since from a strictly “ownership” perspective the boat wasn’t mine. I waited until Kirby finally retreated, white dress vanishing like a sail in the mist, and then I climbed onto the deck and ducked through the companionway into the saloon.

    Freedom.

    For a holiday that was supposed to, according to Aunt Lemon, “honor the full strength of the Sun God,” the Oregon night was a bruise. I took in the blackness that seeped into the boat, the salty air, the mustiness that clung to torn seat cushions.

    But for the damp suck of the sea, all was soundless.

    The Vega rocked gently in the tumult, steadying herself, and my view of the sky—pink-purple-black through the starboard window—straightened.

    Tipped.

    Straightened again.

    The ship was a castaway among the polished vessels surrounding us, a forgotten relic here in Atargatis Cove. I didn’t even know her proper name. Queen of was all it said on the hull, once-gold letters peeling from the aqua-blue fiberglass. Could’ve been the Queen of Hearts or the Queen of the Damned for all I knew. But there was something special about that emptiness,

    the unknown,

    the unsaid.

    Potential undefined.

    She was abandoned, a fate we shared, which made her the perfect hideaway.

    The boat jostled as a wave hit, and I took a deep breath, fought a shiver. The sea can’t hurt me here. . . . I repeated the mantra in my head until fear left my limbs. Until I could breathe again.

    I lit the big candle I’d brought from Mermaid Tears—Lemon’s shop—to chase away the mustiness. OCEAN BREEZE, it said. It smelled like chemically enhanced coconut.

    Soft yellow light flickered into the saloon.

    Everything was as I’d left it. Straightened up, wiped down, cans of expired soup discarded. A fuzzy new blanket spread out in the V-berth, and another on top, for curling up. Scattered on the cushions, a few books Kirby had brought me from her volunteer job at the library. Some extra clothes, flip-flops, sunglasses I never seemed to need here in Oregon. My iPod. A box of crackers with the peanut butter already spread between them. A bundle of Sharpies, rubberbanded together, different thicknesses.

    My shoulders relaxed. The Vega was still unclaimed.

    I freed a mass of black curls from beneath the hood of my sweatshirt, and from a pocket in my denim cutoffs, fished out a handful of sea glass. Lemon was looking out for me this summer, so in addition to helping at Mermaid Tears, I tagged along on her morning beach combs. She collected glass to forge into sculptures, some for sale in the gift shop and others on display in the gallery above it. She valued each piece of glass like a gemstone, but she always let me keep some of the haul. I’d been saving it in an empty Costco jar that formerly contained a decade’s supply of pitted olives—my hourglass. Once the glass reached the top, things would be right again.

    Repaired, renewed, recovered.

    Rejuvenated.

    Restored.

    All the REs complete, and I’d be whole.

    Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . .

    My hand tipped into the jar, and I watched the colored bits clink and settle among the others, an inch of green-gray-blue rising like the tide.

    Whole.

    I didn’t really believe it, but it sounded nice, like a poem. Even if it were possible, what then? Where would I go? Not back. Not forward. I was here, drifting on the current, eighteen years old and totally unmoored.

    I pushed the jar back along a shelf in the triangular V-berth, way at the front of the boat, and settled into my favorite spot. My iPod still had a little charge, so I popped in an earbud and scrolled to a new playlist. Lemon had plenty of instrumental on her laptop—Native American wood flutes, classical, wind chimes, dolphin calls, ambient weirdness. On my first night in the States I’d desperately replaced my soca and calypso with it, erased even the reggae—anything that reminded me of home. Of who I should have been. Tonight I was onto Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites, track one. Music hummed in my right ear as I cranked the volume, but I wasn’t fool enough to sit alone on a boat with both ears covered.

    A calm ocean could change in an instant.

    Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . .

    By the time my screen read “Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major,” my heart rate finally mellowed, and I grabbed a Sharpie from the bundle. I found a clear spot among the tangle of words overhead—some nights my notebook wasn’t big enough—and pressed the tip to the low ceiling.

    Words spin and spill

    ink from a bottle of blood

    Queen of lurched left, a game we nightly played, and I tightened my grip on the marker, waiting for her to settle. She perpetually lost. Her body was inked with the evidence.

    A smudge, a smear, a shaky line of

    black letters stands erect, marches

    around my fingers, encouraging,

    Back on the island of Tobago, 7,040 kilometers—no, make that 4,375 miles—off the coast of my heartbeat, Dad and Granna had an old Albin Vega in the resort fleet, the Atlantica, a twenty-seven footer like this, one of three boats reserved for our guest charters. They’d taken the fourth out of commission in March, part of a long string of before-and-after afters that ended with me leaving for the States, but as far as I knew, the Atlantica was still going strong. It was the ship my twin sister Natalie had been born on. The one I’d been born next to.

    The last thing my mother saw.

    It was a dark and stormy night, our birth story. So they say.

    inspiring,

    yet ever

    Now, out here on these chilly summer nights, the pale scar of the moon cutting the Oregon haze, I wondered if Dad was out on the Vega too. Lying in the V-berth, staring at the same moon, thinking of me as I thought of him. Of my sisters and Granna. The cocoa pods, red-orange-yellow, stacked in pyramids after first harvest, spicing the air with their intoxicating plums-and-tobacco scent.

    Home.

    Do you miss me?

    soundless.

    “Keep your skirt on! Let me check it out, make sure she won’t sink.” A male voice accompanied shadows through the companionway and into the saloon. The boat bobbed under new weight, and I yanked out my earbud and bolted upright, narrowly avoiding a head injury.

    His image flickered in the candlelight. When he spotted me, he put one hand on his head, as if he’d anticipated the crash that never came, and said in a tone much softer than what he’d used on his friend, “Well. Hello there.”

    Unlike me, he was unalarmed, the ghost of a smile hovering on his lips. Something softened him around the edges—alcohol, probably—but his gaze was sharp and clear.

    Toes to curls, a shiver shook me. This boy wore the ocean in his eyes, green-gray-blue, ever shifting, and I recognized him immediately. Knew before he said another word that he was as dangerous as he was beautiful.

    Christian Kane. Official summer scoundrel of Atargatis Cove, fresh off his first year at Stanford. Aside from the upcoming Mermaid Festival and Pirate Regatta, the Kane family’s annual return was the talk of the town. And this son, the eldest? Kirby had him to thank for the cake tonight.

    Christian Kane had his own mythology, his own devoted following, much like Lemon’s Sun God. Fitting that they shared a birthday.

    I was frozen on the blanketed cushions as he scanned the scene: writing on the fiberglass walls and ceiling, damning black marker still clutched in my fingers. Somewhere beneath my elbow, two battered novels about the sea, ancient legends retold. A half-empty can of Coke on the shelf behind my head. A postcard from home, blank, tacked up on the wall. The yawning jar of sea glass, there next to the soda. Nautical charts and manuals once scattered throughout the saloon, now stacked neatly on the table beside the candle, held in place with a large rock carried in first by the tide, second by me.

    This ship had belonged to no one. I’d been so certain. And rickety and neglected as she was, I’d called her my home away from my home away from home, my sacred space. Now Christian’s gaze swept back to me and skimmed the unfamiliar legs stretched across the V-berth, brown skin made lavender by the moonlight.

    When he finally looked at me full on, his stormy eyes changed course.

    Confusion.

    Surprise.

    Intrigue.

    The last was the most worrisome.

    I tugged the hood up over my head, tied the strings across my seashell necklace and the scar gouged into the hollow of my throat.

    Breathe. . . .

    “Christian?” someone said, flirty and singsong. The breeze shifted, carrying a whiff of spicy vanilla perfume, and a girl crashed into him from behind. Her silver-tipped talons curled over his shoulders. “What’s the deal? I’m freezin’ my ass off.”

    Christian didn’t take his eyes off me, just raised a curious eyebrow that lit a spark in my chest.

    The girlfriend noticed me then, and around a faint smile, still watching me, Christian spoke plainly.

    “There’s a girl writing on my boat.”

    I basically ran.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Summer of Chasing Mermaids 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Cni
    terferj More than 1 year ago
    3.5 stars I thought it wasn't a bad book, it was a light, easy read but I felt it to be a tad slow moving. Most of the time, I would put it down and find other stuff to do. It didn't hold my attention as much as I would like especially since I liked the characters and the general storyline. The execution just left me in snoozeville. I really loved the lore of Atargatis Cove. Anything dealing with mermaids is a-ok with me. I also liked the story about Elyse; the pain she had to overcome and how she helped Sebastian and Christian in different ways. I dug that she was from Tobago and felt that her culture was represented well. I do wish there was an epilogue to find out the outcome but I'll imagine happy things and everything turned out how they hoped.
    MissPrint More than 1 year ago
    Elyse d'Abreau always knew her future would be bright. Everyone in Tobago knew that Elyse and her twin sister were destined for music stardom--something that seemed within reach before a boating accident changed everything. Now Elyse can't sing anymore. She can't even speak. Haunted by reminders of everything she has lost, Elyse leaves her boisterous family and home in Tobago. She hopes to find solitude and some kind of peace in Atargatis Cove in Oregon. Instead Elyse is drawn into the cove's annual Pirate Regatta when she volunteers to serve as first mate to known playboy Christian Kane. Preparing for the high-stakes race Elyse begins to see new sides to Christian and even the cove itself. She also realizes that hiding from her past won't solve any of her problems. But before Elyse can map out a new future, she will have to rediscover her voice in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (2015) by Sarah Ockler. As the title suggests, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. Ockler includes just enough elements to bring the original source material to mind while also straying far enough from her inspiration to ensure that this novel is entirely original. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is narrated by Elyse and imbued with her voice even though she cannot speak. Ockler juxtaposes Elyse's actions with her inner thoughts to convey how Elyse struggles to understand who she is--who she can ever be--when her voice is gone. The story centers on Elyse's own development and her transformation as she understands that speaking up doesn't always have to mean speaking out loud. This central focus creates a courageous story of empowerment for Elyse as well as the other characters in the novel, most notably Christian's little brother Sebastian who is fascinated by mermaids. At the same time, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids offers discussions of feminism and equality. And, of course, there are mermaids and romance. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a thoughtful story about all of the ways people can lose their voices whether they are stolen, broken or silenced. It's a story about creating a new future when your obvious path is lost to you. It's a story about finding love and partnership and how those should be the same things. Most of all, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is about forging ahead even when the unknown is scary and what comes next is uncertain. Highly recommended. Possible Pairings: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, Undercover by Beth Kephart, Moonglass by Jessi Kirby, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Suggest burbs should include first paragraph cataloging and include subject and age appro. Plus date first published and page count.
    donniedarkogirl More than 1 year ago
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm a bit ashamed to admit this is my first Sarah Ockler book. I own Twenty Boy Summer but just haven't had a chance to read it yet. I would have written that book off as a fluffy romance had I not read glowing reviews from other bloggers. And I'm so glad found those reviews because if I hadn't, then most likely I would have missed out on The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and that would have been a travesty. The cover as well as the author drew me to checking out the synopsis. That cover is so beautiful and fits with the story and atmosphere of the book. Ockler's writing is tremendous and gorgeous and just lyrical. I felt like I was reading a poem at times. I fell in love with Elyse's character right away. Though she can't speak, she stands out the most in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Until meeting Elyse, I never would have thought about how much we allow our voices to define who we are. Though she sees herself as broken having lost her ability to speak, she was able to find out, albeit under tragic circumstances, that she's so much more than her voice. Her voice was just one part of her identity. It's sad when you realize something like that after you've lost something that was precious to you. But I didn't look at Elyse with pity - I looked at her with pure admiration. So far from home in a world so different from what she's used to, she does her best to survive day to day. She misses home terribly but also needed to get away from there at the same time. And Elyse is another character I'm drawn to because her mother died, too. She never got to know her, but I know the emptiness left behind from the loss all too well. I also must admit I had some trepidation about Christian because he's described as a "notorious playboy." I worried his character would end up being stereotypical, but he really surprised me in the best of ways, from the moment he said so calmly, "There's a girl writing on my boat." As if that's an everyday occurrence for him! It was then I knew I was going to like him. Elyse's "cousin" Kirby and "aunt" Lemon were good for Elyse to be around. I liked both of them, and though Kirby is the opposite of Elyse, I think it was good for Elyse to be around someone so positive and bouncy. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a YA contemporary you can't afford to miss. Perfect to read during summer (or any time of year!), if you've been shying away from contemporary novels, you really should read this one. This novel will change your mind about whether or not to read the genre. Definitely a game-changer. An emotional and often humorous read you'll remember for a long, long time.
    BiblioJunkies More than 1 year ago
    Elyse d’Abreau is content to collect sea glass, work in her Aunt Lemon’s gift shop, and haunt an abandoned boat at the dock. But as the summer crowd begins to arrive at Atargatis Cove, Elyse is slowly pulled out of her shell which in turn forces her to face the demons and fears that brought her there in the first place. When Christian Kane finds Elyse hiding on his boat and writing her thoughts all over the walls and ceiling, he seems surprised and amused. His reaction is a far cry from the arrogant playboy attitude Elyse’s cousin has led her to expect. Elyse finds him to be even more interesting when she witnesses his reaction to a bet that the mayor publicly makes with Christian’s father. A bet that pits Christian against his best friend in the annual Pirate Regatta. A bet that puts the livelihood of many locals at stake. Elyse is no stranger around sailboats. Her role and jobs at her family’s resort in Tobago makes her a bit of an expert. But since losing her voice in an accident at sea, she hasn’t been in the water let alone on a boat. With a bit of prodding from her Aunt and cousin, Kirby, Elyse agrees to help Christian make his boat seaworthy and be his first mate in the competition. Despite her fears. With the help of Kirby, Christian and their friend Vanessa, Elyse begins to actually live and make connections and a life at Atargatis Cove. As she begins to come back to life, she is forced to face the loss of her voice which meant the loss of the thing she loved most – singing. And she slowly learns to forgive her twin sister. The sister that shares her soul. The sister that is responsible for Elyse’s loss. This is a beautiful and complex story. The way Sarah Ockler weaves Elyse’s journey with the legend of the mermaid, Atargatis is smart and frightening. Frightening because it made me question Elyse’s connection with reality at times. Smart because it was the perfect device to show Elyse’s struggle with her loss, insecurities and fears of the sea. Even though this story is told in first person I felt connected to all the characters. Christian’s struggle with his father’s expectation and his parent’s relationship was heartbreaking. Christian’s little brother, Sebastian, stole my heart from the get go. His determination to be himself and indulge in his obsession with mermaids put a huge smile on my face. Christian is his little brother’s biggest fan and more than a few characters rallied around both of them as they struggled with their father’s idea of respectability. Then there is Aunt Lemmon and Kirby. The way they both silently hold Elyse up and give her the space to heal was absolutely beautiful. Let’s not forget Christian’s best friend, Noah, who refuses to let the bet that pits them against each other ruin their friendship. And then my favorite, Vanessa, a friend of both Kirby and Christian, really holds everyone together with her honesty, determination and willingness to fight for what is right. As always, Sarah Ockler proves to be an amazing writer. I love how all her stories are so different from each other yet always focus on a heroine that successfully overcome obstacles in a way that makes her an even better person. If you are looking for a great contemporary teen read, I can’t recommend this one enough. Nat
    DownrightDystopian More than 1 year ago
    The Summer of Chasing Mermaids isn't your average contemporary, which is why I absolutely loved it! I'm a huge fan of music, so I loved that Elyse used to be able to sing. I also loved how this book involved so much about the ocean and the water, especially the boat that Elyse was on in the beginning of the book. If I could live any closer to the sea, I definitely would. The love interest, Christian, actually bothered me in the beginning. I think it's because he does come off as a playboy, like the description of the book says. However, the more I got to know him the more I grew to like him as a person. I also was a huge fan of his little brother, because he was so adorable! I found it so awesome that he was obsessed with mermaids too, because that was basically me when I was younger. He was just so sweet and charming! This was my first book that I've read that was written by Sarah Ockler, and now I finally know why everyone can't stop recommending her lovely novels. Her writing style was brilliant! I absolutely loved it and I couldn't put the book down because of it. I definitely felt all of the emotions because of the way that Ockler brilliantly depicted each and every scene in the book, as well as the characters. I'll be sure to pick up more of Ockler's books in the future because of that! I honestly think that this would be the perfect book to bring on vacation or even to the pool side for a day! I haven't always been the biggest fan of contemporary novels, but this is definitely one that I'd recommend!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was my first Sarah Ockler book, and I’m glad that it lived up to expectations. Ockler paints a gorgeous West Coast landscape to bring to life a story of finding the power and strength to make your voice heard. Elyse, the main character, is a Tobagonian girl who has had her beautiful singing (and speaking) voice ripped away from her in an accident. Elyse was destined to be a great singer along with her twin sister, but has now escaped to the coast of Oregon as refuge while she rebuilds her self and world. There, she gets drawn into a bet between the mayor and a local businessman where the very house she is living in could be destroyed as developers come into the town. The secondary characters, including new friends Kirby and Vanessa, and love interest Christian make this a fun, sexy, and meaningful read. I sank deeply into the lulling, oceanic world of Cove Bay, and the mystical mermaid legends and Wiccan lore that accompanied it. Ockler’s writing is gorgeous and lyrical, with plenty of swoon and great banter. The brilliance of the book lies in how well Ockler ties together these themes with feminism and power. A fantastic summer read with a lot of substance. I will definitely be picking up the rest of her books.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    OMG the Cover I just need to get this out of my way before I can write anything attempt at a formal review. Saying I love this cover does not even beginning to cover how much I absolutely adore this cover (Yes, I know). Being completely honest, one of the main reasons I decided to read the book NOW and not closer to the release date was because of the cover. It is creative and represents the book Oh! So well! Looking at it (I mean, look at it!) you can see Elyse is dying to say something but she just can´t! And the sharpies and the starfish and EVERYTHING ok! Such a gorgeous and creative cover! +1 Anyway, the Story Elyse was on her way of becoming a professional performer, her voice was her tool; she was bright, extroverted and brave, but after losing her voice she turned into a shell of what she once was. She escapes to USA, not hoping to start anew, but just to get away from the world she knows. She just wants to be left alone, and hides behind her inability to speak as her excuse. Though when a bet puts her "duller" life at risk, she has to make a decision: live forever in the past, or face it and allow herself to change. The story is nothing over the top, but it is solid and engaging. This was not a love story, it was a coming of age story. An excellent coming of age story. +1 The Characters The story has a pretty diverse cast, and all the characters were pretty well rounded. But I will speak of the two most relevant. The protagonist is Elyse, she is a sweet girl with a difficult past. I adored her from beginning to end. I adored her so much I would be so disappointed on her when she made a poor choice, and would be so proud when she started to take her baby steps to fight her fears. She was refreshing, and I believe the first character from Trinidad and Tobago that I have ever read! Her story got me so interested in the country, I've search for more information about it and now plan on visiting one day (though that's an story for another day). Christian is her love interest, but he is more than just that; he's got troubles of his own, and his own battles to fight. His story did not revolve around her, which I really appreciated. I loved to bits his brother too!+1 Roma(nce) wasn't built in a day Yes, the story is a romance (the cover does not lie) but it is not the core of it, as I mentioned before. The romance developed slowly. There was flirting, sure, they are young after all. But the relationship between Elyse and Christian grew from friendship, and from trust, which is something I do not see much in YA books nowadays.+1 Don't go breaking my Heart ¿  I could not get enough of this book! It was a page turner. And it caught me right from the start. This book made me feel for Elyse so much (She´s my bb don't touch her). I just did not want the story to end! Just one thing I would have liked was to know more (more!) of what happened after the ending.+1 In Conclusion:  Favourite book this year (so far). Now go and read it!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Elyse and her twin sister, Natalie, began singing together when they were little. Nobody had to ask the sisters what their futures held - it was obvious. But when the sea takes Elyse's voice, her future is ruined. Not wanting to face her immediate family, she moves to the U.S. to live with her aunt in Oregon. Here she meets Christian, a boy who isn't afraid to ask questions. After finding Elyse on his boat, he takes an interest in her. And when his father makes a bet, risking his family's summer home and her Aunt Lemon's rented house, the two become even closer. Elyse has to help Christian get his boat ready to race - because if he loses, they both lose their homes in Atargatis Cove. I went into this with false expectations that, admittedly, I wouldn't have hoped for if I read the book's summary. I expected mermaids, due to the title, not a realistic story. And I regret that, because it did slow the book down for me. I had to adjust my expectations to what the book really was. I've also seen this in a couple of fairytale retelling lists, but I wouldn't go that far - if it's a retelling of The Little Mermaid, it's a loose one. Elyse has many sisters, and loses her voice. There are some repeated names (Ursula, Sebastian). But I think those who go in for a retelling will probably have false expectations. That said, this book is a new addition to my favorites shelf. It is a fantastic book, with great characters and such a strong, important message. Elyse lost her voice literally, but so many people (her included) suffered from loss of their voice. There was Christian, who couldn't stand up to his father. His little brother Sebastian, whose young voice was too small for most people to consider. Elyse's Aunt Lemon, whose voice went unheard in matters regarding her own home - because she was renting, and the house was not technically her own property. In the Cove, two men had voices. The mayor, a sexist man who wanted to bring in tourists even if it meant changing the quiet, calm atmosphere of the Cove, and Christian's father. And they used these voices to silence others - most of whom allowed themselves to be silenced. It's difficult to stand up for something that seems impossible, and I think this book touched on that really well. Nobody saw the point in standing against the people who obviously had more control and, for that reason, their voices went unheard. And Elyse, loud and outgoing as she used to be, had lost her voice - how could she speak up? One of my favorite parts of the book (and the parts that made me cry more than once) were Elyse's conversations with her Aunt Lemon. She was a fantastic woman, always encouraging Elyse to heal and find her voice again. She let her know that the sea might have taken Elyse's speaking voice, but ultimately it was her own decision to go unheard. Another important thing was the acceptance in this book. Girls and women were portrayed wonderfully - not one of the characters was a stereotype. (Which meant no 'blonde, jealous ex' that we usually get when the main character falls for a player - you can't imagine how excited I was when I couldn't find her!) Christian did not fall for Elyse for the typical reason, either - not because she 'wasn't like other girls.' Elyse was very much like the other girls in this book, because they were all realistic, well-rounded people. None of the teens in this book were shamed for having sex, either. Or for not having it. The adults in this book (namely Lemon who, again, was fantastic) handled that well and it was refreshing to see the topic treated as just a normal thing - because that's what it is. And then we get to Sebastian, Christian's little brother. He had a mermaid obsession that his father, and quite a few others, found issue with. He was told again and again that mermaids 'weren't for boys,' basically, and his persistence - and the support he received from his brother, Elyse, and friends - was so great. Even the awful characters were human. Even those who made huge mistakes were not shamed for this in the writing, and I liked that even smaller characters had their stories told and personalities shown within the story. It fit well with the message of the book, to speak up and not let yourself be silenced. Overall, I hope nobody kept reading this in hopes of finding criticism - because while I usually try to share the good and bad parts of a story, I can't find any fault with this one. If I could have left this review at 'perfect book, go buy it!' I would have.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    inahreads More than 1 year ago
    I haven't really read a lot of fairy tale retellings but this one really stands out. It strays away from the usual retellings where the characters have the same names and the plot has the same structure, which makes this really interesting. This book tells the story of Elyse and her life in Atargatis Cove where she experienced a fresh start with her friends, and fell in love with Christian Kane. Elyse was really an interesting and lovable character. She cannot speak so she uses Sharpies and paper, mostly her palm though, to communicate. It's not the first time I've read a book with a mute MC, but this one... Elyse lost her voice due to an accident, which doubles up the emotions and her character's dimension. Christian has kind of a complex character. It was kinda hard to figure him out at first. He's a bit of a jock at first but as the story progressed, I saw more of him, understood his character deeper and fell in love with his personality. He's gentle, kind and I loved his relationship with his younger brother, Sebastian. Sebastian was really adorable. It was really easy to love the kid. His eagerness, curiosity and him being firm and certain about things made me love him. He often speaks his mind freely which was really cute and cool to see for someone as young as him. I hope I saw more of the other characters though, like Vanessa, Kirby and Noah. There's more potential to their characters, which could've been amazing to see. Overall, I really enjoyed reading the book. The story was a pretty cool retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. The romance wasn't overrated. It's also an amazing summer read, so be sure to add this to your summer TBR!
    WhatSarahRead More than 1 year ago
    What did I love about this book? Well, let me think for a second. Oh yeah! I loved EVERYTHING about this book. Seriously, this is one of the best books I read this year, and for so many reasons. What really stole my heart though, was how Ockler’s writing brought me to the heart of the emotion for all of the characters involved. I was allowed to know each one so intimately, and because of the gorgeous writing I truly felt the emotions they each went through. We meet Elyse and Christian, and they are both dealing with some serious wounds, trying to find a way to move past the pain in their lives. I appreciated that what they were going through was tough, raw and painful, yet they still found a way to be there for each other. Rather than shutting down, they opened up for one another and allowed friendship and love to heal. As a matter of fact, almost all of the characters in this book were so uplifting and supportive (notice I said MOST), and it was especially refreshing to see teenage girls portrayed as loving and thoughtful friends to Elyse, who is different and an outsider. At the end of the day, what I loved most about this book was Ockler’s writing. Evocative, dreamy, fresh, inspiring…all words I would use to describer her style in this book. I was there on the beaches with Elyse as she struggled to make sense of what happened to her. I felt the pain that little Sebastian felt as he tried to make his mark in the world. I knew Christian’s frustration and fear in trying to break free of his past. It was all there for me to experience by way of amazing writing. I also have to commend Ockler for the obvious research that went into this book. Her description of the Trinidad and Tobago culture was so descriptive and detailed, I learned so many things about these people and their customs, and it truly added a whole other dimension to Elyse’s character. I wish more authors would challenge themselves to write books with more diverse characters, because I believe it only serves to further educate readers on something we otherwise may have never known about. I can wholeheartedly tell you that there isn’t one thing that didn’t work for me in ‘The Summer of Chasing Mermaids”. It was honest, evocative, romantic and heartfelt. It all worked so beautifully together. As I’ve been mentioning throughout this entire review, the whole book is one big feels fest. There wasn’t one page that went by where I didn’t have some sort of emotional reaction. The range of emotions were there as well. I appreciate when a book can take you to dark places just as well as it can take you to most lovely, and this book does just that. It was an emotional journey that left me so fulfilled.
    alexalovesbooks More than 1 year ago
    The more I think about The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, the more I realize how much I loved this story.  When stripped down to its bare bones, this is the story of a guy and a gal, both facing personal issues, who meet one summer and find their lives irrevocably changed. This is the type of story we've all read, yes? What makes this one unique, however, boils down to the unique & diverse characters, the problems they face, the unexpectedly appealing setting of the Oregon seaside and the hints of the fantastical sprinkled all throughout these pages. Elyse D'Abreau was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, which grants her a unique history that is showcased through countless little details. But she's also like any other teen girl: she deals with hard stuff the best she can, longs to belong somewhere, falls in love and forms friendships, discovers passions and allows herself to be carried on the wave of her feelings. Ockler has successfully written a character that's different from any other I've read, but remains just as easy to relate to, and I certainly think that's something worth celebrating. Elyse meets several people during her summer in Oregon, and they encourage her to open up her heart and move forward with her life. Enigmatic Christian, who has secret vulnerabilities of his own. Innocent Sebastian, a young boy who believes wholeheartedly that he can find mermaids if he looks hard enough. Generous Lemon, who offers Elyse her own place in her home. Caring Kirby, Lemon's daughter who does her best to open her heart to Elyse. Bubbly Vanessa, who doesn't waver in offering Elyse her friendship from the moment they meet. Just as in real life, these people (among many others who I didn't single out) had significant parts to play in her journey. Ockler goes one step further and doesn't only make them a part of Elyse's life; she ensures that they each get arcs of their very own. But it is mainly Elyse's tale that readers are treated to in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, in particular the loss of her voice and how it has dramatically sidetracked the plans she had for her life. The grief, the anger, the denial, the fear, the uncertainty - all of these emotions are swimming around in Elyse's mind and heart. I was immediately swept up in her story, hoping against hope that Elyse would find her way by the time we reached the end. Her journey is compelling, so utterly realistic in how painful and jagged, how beautiful and happy, how complex all her feelings and experiences could be. While I've never experienced what Elyse has gone through, it certainly felt like I had; that's how immersive Ockler's writing is. While there are so many things I loved about The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, it is really the impression it left on my heart that is most remarkable. Elyse might be unable to speak or sing, but she certainly still has a voice - a fact she doesn't fully understand until she allows herself to. The importance of that, of recognizing that each and every one of us has a voice and can use it, is definitely the biggest takeaway this novel has to offer readers. Characters, relationships, setting, theme and just a hint of magic - Sarah Ockler has nailed it all in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and there's no doubt in my mind that I'd recommend this one.
    NereydaG1003 More than 1 year ago
    I’m late to the Sarah Ockler party, having only read The Book of Broken Hearts last year (loved it!).  But I knew I wanted to read this one as soon as I heard about it. I do admit that this book took a little while to get into, I think it was mostly the writing that I had to adjust to.  It was very poetic and lyrical and beautiful and I was just a little bit thrown off at first.  I also wasn’t sure at first if this had any mythical ties to it (with all the mermaid references) or if it was a contemporary (it is).  Once I got that out of the way, and got used to the writing, it was so easy to love this book. Elyse might not be the most likeable or relatable character, but I loved her.  Yes, she was one of those characters that had a tragic past and was having a very hard time accepting her future.  Plus, you would think that the whole not talking thing would make it hard for me to connect with her, but it was just another great message that someone can still have a voice, even if they can’t speak.  After an accident claimed Elyse’s voice forever, she can’t handle being around her family and her old life so she goes to live with a family friend in the US.  She isn’t the best at making friends and prefers spending her time alone.  But when the Summer starts and the vacationers start coming in, it all changes.  My favorite things about the book? Elyse, Christina, Sebastian, the slow-burn romance, the friendships, the message, I loved it all! Can we talk about how sex positive this book is???  I’m a big believer that sex in YA can be done correctly and shouldn’t be something taht is ignored and I absolutely loved how it was handled in this book.  Not only was Elyse comfortable with her body and with sex, but there were some great (and YA appropriate) scenes between Elyse and Christian.  Not only that, but there was also a great self-love scene that I have never read about before in YA (rarely ever, actually).  Bravo for this scene!  Besides the great message, the great romance and friendships, I also loved that there was so much diversity in the characters.  And not just used as a plot device.  I have to say that Sebastian was my favorite and he stole my heart with his simple desire to simply be a mermaid. The one thing I didn’t love about the book was the ending.  True, I didn’t really want the book to end in the first place, but it felt like I was missing a chapter.  I like to think that this ended in the perfect way I’m imagining in my head, but it bothers me a little bit that I don’t know for sure.  I would have loved an epilogue.  Even with that ending, I was still happy with the story and the way everything turned out.  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was an amazing story with so many great and important messages.  A must read!
    LittlePiecesofImagination More than 1 year ago
    It’s the hardest ever to write a review for a book that has blown your mind in every way possible; climbed its way into the deepest parts of your heart and soul. How could I ever do justice to this inspiring story, its amazing, well-fleshed characters, a beautiful narration, magnificent setting and so, so much more?! The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was initially one of my most anticipated books of 2015, but it has easily become one of my favorite books ever!  “When one dream burns to ash, you don't crumble beneath it. You get on your hands and knees, and you sift through those ashes until you find the very last ember, the very last spark. Then you breathe. You breathe. You fcuking breathe. And you make a new fire.”  (—taken from the ARC, 96%) The Summer of Chasing Mermaids tells a story of Elyse, a talented and promising singer, who has lost her voice forever thanks to an accident. At the beginning of the novel we obviously don’t know the full story, but it’s clear that the Elyse we know isn’t the Elyse everyone remembers. As she opens up to the readers, and the people around her, we see her slowly, step by step, get closer to coming to a realization that her life isn’t over because of this accident, it's simply the beginning of something new. The character growth and soul searching Elyse goes through is absolutely gorgeously written: it’s raw, emotional and endearing.  My favorite character by far was Elyse, but needless to say that I adored all the other characters a lot too, especially Christian, Kirby, Sebastian, Noah, Vanessa and Lemon. They’re all so well-written, relatable and it was really hard to part with them as the story came to an end. Dear Sarah and Simon Pulse, would you please give Kirby and her love interest a book with lots and lots of cameos from everyone? That would literally be the dream, thank you!  I don’t want to tell you guys the whole story, plus I feel myself starting to ramble real soon, so I’ll just leave you with a few notes on what you can expect when picking up this beauty:  *there are a lot of poc characters and you'll get to experience the culture of Trinidad and Tobago through various flashbacks *so many wonderful friendships and great, inspiring sisterhood relationships *THERE IS A GLORIOUS SHIP (and yes, there are many actual ships, but I'm talking about a metaphorical one) AND LOTS OF KISSING *sex and female mastrubation topics aren’t shied away from—this is so. very. important! *sexism and misogyny are touched upon and some of the values of the society are criticized in a beautiful manner *you'll 99.73% cry a lot and this book will touch you with its gorgeous narrative, a beautiful and haunting story and a great set of characters This book is hopeful, stunning and so very honest and raw. I loved every single second of it and I wish the story would go on and on forever, because it was truly, truly hard to part from these characters. With this magical novel, Sarah Ockler is now on my watch-list forever and I’m eagerly anticipating her next story! I can’t wait for my gorgeous physical copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids to arrive so that I can re-read it again and again, and I hope that you'll end up picking this up so that we can shout our love for this book in all caps, completely incoherent, because that's how this book will make you feel, I can promise you that (¿¿¿¿)  Overall rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
    Nevellie More than 1 year ago
    I think this book is one of the best books I've read this year. I only ever read one other book by Sarah Ockler and I had loved it, so I decided to take a chance on this one and I'm glad it delivered. The story talks about Elyse, who lost her voice and her entire life's dream in one swoop. She travels all the way to the US to live with her aunt in order to escape the past and try to find herself. There she meets the island's locals as well as kids who summer there and she is swept into a competition she shouldn't have agreed to take a part of. Elyse's journey is very heart wrenching, I found myself crying on more than one occasion. There's the fact that she can no longer speak when her entire life's dream was to be a singer. There's the fact that her twin sister is still pursuing that dream and no one in her family understands how painful it is for her and how hard it is to be supportive. There's the fact that she has no idea what she can be right now and where she'll be living, since as much as she loved parts of her home, it only brought back painful memories she'd rather not remember. She needs to find her true identity, one that isn't entirely based on her ability to impress people with her voice. To top that, she agrees to take part of the pirate regatta, one that has such high stakes, fully knowing of her own fear of the ocean after her accident. This book was a whirlwind of emotions, ones that take you on a ride throughout the story as you get to meet the colorful characters, their separate pains and struggles and how Elyse finds herself in their midst but fears losing that soon. This story was equal parts incredible and heartbreaking, and I can safely say I loved that. Morals, priorities, friendships and love are all put to the test to an extent that the lines get so hazy and you don't know what's right or wrong anymore. But more than that with the competition and the locals, there's also self discovery and finding your right path in life.  I love Sarah Ockler's writing and honestly cannot wait to read more by her. This story was incredible, and I appreciated the diversity in the main character's background being from Trinidad & Tobago. I liked that she was handicapped and how she found a way to get through that, to not let it stop her and how she fought to overcome it. Seriously just… loved this book. "Voice and speech aren't the same thing. You've lost your ability to speak, to sing. But the only thing that can take your voice away - your true voice - is you."
    pkm5713 More than 1 year ago
    Okay, y'all, I'm gonna lay it down for you: this is Sarah Ockler's best book. I don't know how I feel about that cover, frankly, because it doesn't do the book justice. Yes, this is a summer romance, but it is so much more than that. I appreciate that the cover did no whitewashing and that somehow it seems to reflect Elyse and Christian's silent communication, but when all is said and done it still looks like just another summer romance destined for the Pop Culture or Teen Romance section of your local Barnes & Noble. And this book is way too important for that. I've been a fan of Sarah Ockler for years; she is an auto-buy for me, but somehow I've never really read one of her books and thought, "This book is why I read contemporary." Until now. The writing in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids so far surpasses any of the others that I found myself wondering where Ockler had been hiding it for so long. Poetic, lyrical, metaphorical, figurative: Lauren Oliver meets Deb Caletti meets freaking F. Scott Fitzgerald. Yeah, I went there. Elyse is a strong female character, but not in the Strong Female Character kind of way. She's vulnerable and weak and we find her in the midst of her greatest tragedy: losing her ability to sing. Not being able to sing has led Elyse to recede into herself, to stop being the Elyse she was before, to stop using her inner voice as well as the outer voice she's lost. The sea is part of her and the sea broke her, and she's left trying to reconcile those two facts in a way that will let her become whole again. The mythology in this book is so well crafted and well-researched and almost makes the book feel like magical realism, like maybe the Queen of Mermaids is real and she has taken Elyse's voice. Maybe she will take Elyse, too, and our heroine will become Christian's siren and it will all be very tragic and beautiful. Thankfully, no, it's just mythology, but I love that it made me think that way. What makes this novel important? Not only does it sympathize with and empower people who have been silenced in general, but it addresses gender roles specifically. Elyse faces a lot of misogyny from powerful men about her being first mate on Christian's boat, but she does it anyway. Christian himself, bless him, makes a lovely joke about hitting his head on the way out of the time machine and not realizing he was back in the 1850s. His brother, Sebastian, loves mermaids and wants to walk in the mermaid festival, but those same powerful men tell him he can't because he's a boy. The patriarchy is good for no one. [ALSO, I've been saying for years that "What Would Tami Taylor Do?" should be everyone's life motto, so thank you, Sarah, for Vanessa's mom.] It addresses parental expectations and the very YA themes of living within the limits your parents have given you, even when they're telling you to grow up and be independent. It's that uncertain middle area when your life is still ultimately decided by the people who raised you but you're starting to break free of the mold they've created for you. Christian doesn't agree with or even like his parents, but at the same time he understands and respects them. His father tells him to prove himself and then takes away all the resources he needs to do so. It's one of the most direct approaches to this theme that I've ever read, but it works because it feels so real. A signature of being a young adult these days is that you're expected to leave home by a certain age but a college education doesn't guarantee you a job anymore, and it's nearly impossible to live on your own, and so many parents think that it's a reasonable expectation because they did it way back when. "Climb that mountain," the world demands, as it locks our climbing equipment behind a door whose key is at the top of the mountain. My only issue with the book is that it may have dragged on a bit just before the regatta race; it felt like Elyse's hesitations and questions were starting to be so repeated that she herself should have been asking why she hadn't done something about it. I have felt this way about Ockler's books before, though, and it's really not a big deal in comparison to how much I loved this book overall. Elyse might not have a singing voice anymore, but her poetry and her bond with the sea and her resilience were like music, a song that will speak to something in everyone. "When one dream burns to ash, you don't crumble beneath it. You get on your hands and knees, and you sift through those ashes until you find the very last ember, the very last spark. Then you breathe."
    BookHounds More than 1 year ago
    In this retelling of The Little Mermaid, Sarah Ockler spins on old story into something fresh and romantic. Elyse and her twin sister, Natalie, have the start of a wonderful music career on their home island of Tobago. In a freak accident, Elyse has lost her voice and the meaning of her life. An old family friend offers her a chance to regain her footing in a small town on the Oregon coast. Lemon and her daughter Kirby offer her a chance to become normal again. The town might be just whats she needs to find her true voice again. Then Christian returns home from college and offers her a job restoring an old boat which turns out to be more than just a sailing vessel. His father has pitted the town against each other and his son in a bid to sell the family holdings to a developer. Of course, Elyse finds Christian very attractive and the two communicate in ways Elyse never imagined possible. Overall, this is a story of finding out what life is really about when you think you have lost your dreams. Parents: this one is best for older teens, and moms, you will probably find this a wonderful beach read.
    Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
    The first time I experienced Sarah Ockler’s writing was while reading Twenty Boy Summer back in 2011. This book was one of the first YA books I read and reviewed after starting my blog, and I fell for it. HARD! I loved Sarah’s writing, they way she brought out all of the emotions in such a raw and real way. She’s an extremely talented author, and I now realized that I seriously need to read more of her books! I have a few on my shelves, and I will definitely be making room for them in my reading schedule. Elyse suffered a tragic incident that left her voiceless. The youngest of six sisters and a twin, Elyse had huge dreams that revolved around her talented singing voice. But then she’s left voiceless, and her future begins to crumble before her eyes. She picks up and immediately moves to a small seaside town in Oregon in hopes of finding herself again. Living with Lemon and Kirby, who take her in and make her feel like one of the family, she spends the summer meeting new friends and building new relationships. She’s meets Christian, the beach stud, and though she’s warned about his activity among the ladies, she can’t help but feel the draw to be around him. Lucky for her, he’s looking for help rebuilding his boat, and she jumps at the chance to both busy herself, and spend more time with his hotness. The characters in this story were so incredible. Elyse is the kind of MC I adore. She’s strong and motivated… yet feeling insecure and a bit depressed about what life has dealt her. Christian is good looking, and let’s face it, he knows it. But he doesn’t let it get to his head. Aside from his gorgeous looks, he’s also carrying an even more gorgeous heart. And we can’t forget about Sebastian, my very favorite part of this story. He’s beyond adorable. The things he says, the way he acts, and his confidence and outstanding attitude are impossible not to love. He brought this story to life! But it’s not just these three either… they have such a wonderful group of family and friends that are surrounding them, each adding their own impact to this story. Such a strong cast to carry such an impacting story. “Not so long ago I’d been convinced that losing my voice was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, the worst tragedy. But since then I’d been losing my whole self, everything I stood for, believed in, felt. Everything I ever wanted to be. Everything I ever was.” The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was exactly as heartfelt, intense, and emotional as I had hoped it would be. Sarah’s talent for addressing touchier subjects in such a mature and affectionate way is incredible. The way she went about the subject of teenage sex, even touching on self pleasure, was so well done. We definitely don’t see enough of that in YA books. Consensual, loving, passionate sex scenes are few and far between in teenage stories, and this book hit the ball out of the park. And the rarity of masturbation in YA books is astounding. Sarah really impressed me with this book. It’s a gem. The perfect beach read that deals with learning to overcome life’s tragedies, forming your own voice and becoming who you want to be, not who others think you should be, all with the strength of good friends and family. The relationships in this story will melt your heart, have you smiling from ear to ear, and leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy. Though life can be tough and unfair, this book makes you think about seeing the glass as half full, instead of half empty. About making lemonade out of the lemons. And about being who you truly are and standing up for what you believe in, above all else.
    BookishThings More than 1 year ago
    I have a lot of love for this book. The writing is beautiful, and it’s a sort of nod to The Little Mermaid. I don’t think it’s a retelling, but there are definitely mentions in this book. My heart hurt for Elyse. She was in a horrible accident that left her without the ability to speak. She had so many dreams, and one night changed everything for her. Throughout the book she is struggling to come to terms with her new life without a voice. She has to overcome the loss of her singing, and trying to forgive her sister after everything happened. She thinks because she can’t speak she can’t make a difference. But meeting the people at Atagartis Cove helps with her emotions. Sometimes they stir them up, and other times they make her feel at home. It’s her actions that shows people how much she cares about things. The story can be slow at times, but that doesn’t take away from it at all. You get in the feel of summer days on the sea. Elyse has a lot of fear she has to overcome, but she might have a chance with the friends she has made. Christian, Kirby, Vanessa, Noah, and Sebastian give her strength, and help her to begin to hope again.
    MyHeartHeartsBooks More than 1 year ago
    Okay. Here's the thing. I been in a book slump for a couple months now and I've read books, but nothing, in a while has felt right. I've called it my goldilocks syndrome. The books that I've read where too this and too that, not all together wrong, but just not right. Until The Summer of Chasing Mermaids.  I went into hoping that I like it, but I knew from the first couple of pages that I was going to love it. I just connected with it instantly. It was the language and the story telling. It was magical, enchanting and enthralling and I wanted more.  I fell in love with the story but more importantly and I fell in love with characters and their individual stories. Sarah Ockler got it right on  every level. I'm generally a fan of her novels, but without a doubt, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is my absolute favorite. One of the highlights of 2015.  It's light but not too light. It contains substance. It just had the perfect balance. I loved it. It's one of those types of stories that I finished and flipped back to the beginning so I could start again. TSCM is relatable and interesting and unlike anything I've read. I stayed up way past my best bed time because I had to know what happened next. At first I thought that this would be a totally predictably story, but it truly wasn't. It wasn't a cliche and Sarah Ockler truly does something wonderful that could've easily been a cliche. It's extraordinary.  Though, I do think that it's suitable for the more older YA audience. There are some sexual scenes in it, that I enjoyed, but are totally not appropriate for an audience of all ages.  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a book that I've a lot of buzz about and rightly so. It's beyond amazing. As soon as I finished it, I went online and I pre-ordered it. I absolutely loved it. Mostly because it's truly amazing, but a big reason is also because it cured my book slump.  e-ARC was provided by publisher via Edelweiss for an unbiased and honest review. 
    heartjess More than 1 year ago
    This review was originally posted at Such a Novel Idea. I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect this outcome of my thoughts in any way. 4.5/5 stars Guys, I just really loved this book. It was so different from the last Sarah Ockler book I read (#scandal), but I loved the diversity of her writing. And speaking of diversity, I LOVED reading about a character from another country, and a POC as the main protagonist. Elyse was such a beautiful person inside and out and being inside her head was worth the pain and tears. She starts out so lost inside herself and just transforms into this beautiful and strong young woman. You’ll be hard pressed not to like her after you turn the last page. When I started reading this, I had no idea it was a retelling of Little Mermaid. In fact, I didn’t realize it until AFTER I finished the book. And you know what? That’s so brilliant. I saw it perfectly and it just made me love the book even more. I mean, the little brother’s name is Sebastian for crying out loud! And he’s obsessed with finding mermaids. The aunt’s name is Ursula and she  is a witch… who lives by the sea. Genius! (Also, how did I NOT see that this was a retelling when I was reading it!?) The prologue is deep and meaningful and will grab ahold of you. If you are a fan of poetic, lyrical prose, you will fall madly in love with this prologue. I loved that the flow of the prologue was weaved and embedded within the story. It moved like waves, crashing over you and pulling your heart in over and over again. The thing I loved most about this book wasn’t the swooning (and the swooning is awesome. So, SO, awesome. You’re gonna fall head over heels for Christian Kane). It was the positive narrative of sex and female empowerment. This book is more than just a summer romance — it’s about a girl who lost the ability to speak finding her voice. And that is so powerful. There are some books  that just glaze over sex, but this book really did such a great job with it. This book was chock full of strong, independent women and yet it didn’t shove feminism down your throat. It was subtle and powerful all at once — and took on misogyny in such a fantastic way, I’m recommending it to every teenage girl I meet. This book was the perfect way to start off the summer. It’s beauty actual made my heart ache. I’m going to be hard-pressed to find a book I love more this summer. While you may want to read this by the pool, be aware you’ll laugh, cry, swoon, and ache — so if other people are around you may make a fool of yourself. Of course, you’ll be so happy, you probably won’t even care.
    Madison Library More than 1 year ago
    I wasn't sure where this book was going after reading the prologue, but was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful this story was. Elyse has moved to the coast of Oregon, desperately trying to escape the accident that changed everything in her life - once a singer about to take the world by storm she can no longer even speak. But the words she can't say are drowning her from the inside.  Beach parties, boat races and summer boys - for Elyse this summer is a strange reflection of what life used to be like for her: popular, confident, the life of the party. This new world, dimmer and colder by far in contrast to Elyse's home of the Twin Islands Trinidad and Tobago, is the place where she can hide and distance herself from her family and everything that reminds her of what she has lost.  But the summer is heating up, with a boat race that will decide the fate of the small town and those that love it, and the two Kane boys that live next door.  Christian Kane isn't secretive about his flirtatious ways, and so Elyse doesn't expect anything from him but heated looks. But when they are thrown together, a sweet friendship (with lots of steamy tension) develops. Teasing, long conversations, scrubbing the boat into shape and a shared determination to win the race unite Christian and Elyse.  There are some absolutely stunning moments in this book - they just reach out from the pages and grab you. The writing is lyrical and descriptive and the story almost magical, with the strong presence of the sea, mermaids, legends, tarot cards and goddesses. You can taste Elyse's frustration, her pain and anger. There is also a great cast of secondary characters, from Lemon and Kirby, whom Elyse is staying with, to the sleazy town mayor. But Sebastian Kane, Christian's young brother, takes the cake for cuteness, heart and determination.  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids seems to straddle the line between young adult and new adult - with Christian summering during college and Elyse struggling to plan what's next for her life, as well as some mature themes. As a side note, I loved the last paragraph of the acknowledgements - it just sums up so perfectly what this story has at its heart: finding your voice.  The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    Bieke Paesen More than 1 year ago
    I knew this book would be great when I first stumbled upon it. It was not a coincidence, it was fate. The Little Mermaid has been my favorite animated movie for as long as I can remember and if you’re even a little fan of it or the original fairy tale (or both), you will adore this book. Because it’s amazing. It really is. Elyse d’Abreau is the youngest of six sisters. Together with her twin Natalie, she was destined for stardom. Then one day it’s all taken away. A boating accident took all that from her. Now the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak. She goes to live with her aunt in Atargatis Cove, named for the mythical first mermaid. There she meets Christian, the only person who doesn’t treat her like a glass statue. He challenges her and admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian. So when Christian is in need for a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse stows away her fear and climbs aboard. This is a contemporary retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid and also the Disney movie. I challenge you to count all the references in this book to both. Seriously. For a huge fan of both like me, this is candy land. I also had a wonderful conversation about it with the author herself on Twitter, which was awesome! She’s also a big fan of both and really knows her stuff because there are references some might not even catch if they aren’t that big of a fan. But I did because I am. Despite it being a retelling, it’s still very much an original story with a lot of heart to it. That includes a lot of feels, especially when it comes to Elyse’s back story. The writing is so beautiful, I could not stop reading. And I loved all these characters! They’re in my heart forever. Elyse because she’s so strong and inspiring, Christian because… well he’s hot. Vanessa, Kirby, Lemon,… All of them. But my favorite has to be Sebastian. He was so freaking adorable guys! I can’t even… Seriously, you’ll love him. Of course the romance is a big part of the story and it’s a great, fantastic, amazing romance. But it doesn’t take away from the other parts. The stuff that’s going on at the Cove, Elyse’s mental recovery from her trauma,… It’s all in here and it’s done brilliantly. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids should please all fans of contemporary, but if you’re a fan of The Little Mermaid, you might love it even more. I love you, Sarah. Thanks for writing this book! I loved it a lot!