Book Review: “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” by Sarah Ockler

23309653Release date: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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 . . .
MY THOUGHTS:
Well-written and emotional. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has the right mixture for a warm contemporary young adult novel, angst and all. The story had me hooked from the first page, and I never drifted, not even for a second, as I continued to the end. This is my first experience with Sarah Ockler’s writing and I’m impressed. I’ll definitely check out her other books.Elyse was quite the character. I sympathized with what she was going through and could understand her emotions. The way some people would get awkward around her and how difficult it was at times for her to express herself was quite sad. I couldn’t imagine going through that, much less what I’d do if I’d lost my voice. The big part of the story and what made it so interesting, is the way Elyse was coping with her “loss” and her ability to let go and live. I also liked how the reader never gets to know how that happened to her until just the right time. The opening of the book really set us up for two pivotal moments and I think that was a good idea. It kept somewhat of a mystery. 

Christian came off as the playboy they made him out to be. At first. But once Elyse got to know him, his little brother, and his family, Christian turned out to me so much more. His family had a lot of issues, and his father put a lot of pressure on him. I found the Kanes to be realistic and they portrayed what many families like them go through. It was great how the book had several other factors along with Elyse’s. In my opinion, that helped to drive the interest level of the story and kept it from being draggy or boring by focusing on one aspect.

Aside from the interesting characters, Ockler did a great job at capturing the scenery in words. I could see clearly every description in every scene, and even had a sense of what Tobago was like for Elyse. Sarah definitely delivered nicely. If you’re a fan of young adult stories about dealing with sorrow, blossoming romance, family drama, individual emotional struggles, then I recommend giving this one a read. Great book!

Rating: 4/5
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