The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse (7th Jun 2016)
Format/Source: Paperback/Sent for review by Pansing Singapore
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…
Rating: 4/5 stars
Sarah Ockler’s The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was definitely what I expected in a contemporary YA novel. It’s got heart, humour and romance. Right from the start, I fell in love with the book because the writing is just so poetic as Sarah Ockler’s prose is divine, lyrical and unforgettable. This is probably the first book I’ve read that has a mute protagonist and it was refreshing to read about her innermost thoughts and how she interprets and really deliberate on what she really wants to say in the form of messages and notes.
“Love didn’t save me; it changed me. Changed me into someone who could save myself.”
And let’s talk about the romance in the book! I loved the relationship between Elyse and Christian because let’s face it, that boy can melt butter. What niggled me was the instant attraction. I do get that Elyse is an exotic beauty and she’s quiet (she can’t speak, mind you) and mysterious but their relationship transitioned quite abruptly for 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.”
The characters were really interesting to read about. Mainly because Elyse comes across as someone who is deeply affected by her past and her past being one the reasons why the story captured my attention like a fish caught in a line. I liked that Christian was more than just a pretty face and he had his own development in the story, especially when it came to his virtues. I loved Christian’s little brother, Sebastian who was a bundle of sunshine wrapped in a glittery mermaid’s tail, like a cutesy merboy sushi! I loved the fact that equality was featured in the book because why would you turn down a little boy’s dream of walking in a parade as a mermaid?
“Beneath the vast diamond sky, I felt both all important and utterly significant, the goddess and the damned in equal measure.”
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a book that also features diversity in terms of its protagonist, characters and culture. Since the MC is a POC, the book is enriched with the cultures of the people in Trinidad and Tobago. Did I mention that Elyse’s family own a cocoa plantation? Descriptions of lush chocolate were the death of me!
“Not everybody gets a happy ending, however deserved it may be. Life had been doing its damnedest to teach me that, starting with my first saltwater breath, the day my mother died at sea.
But that didn’t mean we were giving up.”
The only slight issue that I have with The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is the length. It’s about 400 pages long and for me, it was considered quite a lengthy book for a contemporary YA. What I did like was the Sarah Ockler’s poetic writing which made reading this book a treat. In so many ways, she could twist and turn words and sentences into something beautiful.
If you’re looking for something fun, romantic and swoonworthy where the romance is cute and sweet and a POC as the protagonist, then look no further because Sarah Ockler’s The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is what you’re looking for.