Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
401 pages, published June 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Purchased for myself
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...
I was so excited to read this book--one because it was set in Oregon (I'm an Oregonian) and two, because I'd read SO much hype and excitement for this book. This book was definitely a mixed bag for me. What I loved about the book was Ockler's writing style--beautiful and poetic, engaging, and fun to read. She did a fantastic job of creating her characters in this book. While I loved the main characters Elyse and Christian, I absolutely adored Sebastian--Christian's younger brother. He was my favorite character in the entire book.
I did feel at times the book was a little cheesy--Ocker played off The Little Mermaid theme (main character loses her voice, character's names, etc). However, the YA genre can be a bit cheesy like that, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it--but this one didn't totally work for me and took awhile to get into. In addition (and this is super nitpicky here, forgive me) the book was set in Oregon, and I didn't feel like Ocker captured the essence of the Oregon Coast at all--a place so dear to my heart. However, since this is a work of fiction, and accurate portrayal of the setting isn't absolutely necessary, since it was set in a fictional town. But it still distracted me from the book a bit.
Despite the few negatives, I really did enjoy the book and was glad I read it. The charming characters are what made this book (along with the fantastic writing). Elyse's journey was real and emotional, and I really rooted for her throughout the book. A solid 2015 YA release for the summer!
Overall rating for "The Summer of Chasing Mermaids": 3.5 Stars