Book Review: Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (reviewed by Lexi)
Today I am very excited to share with you the first book review from our new teen book reviewer Lexi. You can learn a little bit more about her at the About TLT page.
“You’ve just made an oath with the sea.”
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 . . .
How do I put how I feel about this book into words? To start off I must admit that I wasn’t really into it. The opening confused me a lot. I went in thinking I was going to be reading a contemporary novel (which it is) but the opening pages had me thinking I was reading a fantasy.
Now as I read further into the book my whole outlook changed. The way Sarah Ockler writes is quite refreshing compared to the normal style of writing found in today’s YA novels. She writes with a mission of captivating the reader and making us suffer as Elyse suffers, question ourselves as Elyse questions, and reevaluate our lives as Elyse reevaluates her own.
Sarah Ockler puts soul into each of her characters. Each character, even minor characters, have substance. There was not one dull character. As I read, I felt a connection to every character in this book as if I had known them my whole life; like they were longtime friends. The way she describes the characters helps in this connection. Her use of imagery paints such a vivid picture that it would be hard not to know exactly what each person looked like. This goes to the main thing I loved about this book: the main character being a Person of Color (POC).
Out of all the books I have read and the all the stories I have sank into, I have not read many with a person that wasn’t white. I give kudos to Sarah Ockler for going out of the norms and writing an entrancing story about a Caribbean girl who lost her voice.
Amongst all the other great things about this book, because there is a lot, a more notable part is the relationship between Christian and Vanessa. Most novels a girl/boy friendship is almost nonexistent. Friendships between girls and boys usually have one or the other or both having a crush on one another. However, in this book I found it peculiar and very spectacular that Vanessa and Christian had a relationship where neither had feelings for each other. Had it been in any other book one of them, probably Vanessa, would have liked the other and been shown as jealous. But this is no normal book and that is why it is a must read that everyone should have in their TBR pile.
So how do I put into words on how this book makes me feel? Well I can’t because it seems like Elyse has stolen everything good to say.
Published June 2015 from Simon Pulse. ISBN: 9781481401272
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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