Book in Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler8:03 PM
Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publishing Date: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5/5 stars
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 guess I could begin with the writing style. Good god, there's this amazing prose in this story that borders around perfection. I'm usually nitpicky about the writing of anything I read, but there isn't anything I found wrong in this at all. The language and the storytelling blew me away, that I felt so enchanted and intrigued of a story I would've normally considered a cliche. There is goddamn poetry in this novel and it's actually good and it will hit you hard in that tiny spot in your chest and make you cry fat ugly tears because you will realize how much it hits so close to home.
That's how I felt, and I connected with this book in a whole different level than I expected. I wanted to like this book because, like the MC I have a special connection with the ocean and would consider myself a mermaid chaser, however you may interpret that. But instead of liking it, I loved it. This book exceeded my expectations and oh my god, I can't stop rambling about how amazing this book is!
Aside from the gorgeous writing, the characters are incredible. There's the MC, Elyse, who's practically my hero right now and will be yours too once you read this. She's a person of color from the Caribbean, who lost her voice because of an accident in the sea that happened before the story starts. But despite her shortcomings and the tragedy that changed her life, she is strong, independent and a genuine person who cares about the people around her. She's a fighter and has a clear sense of how to achieve her goals. Even though it takes some time for her to pick herself up, she eventually does, and that is what's important.
Christian, the love interest, wasn't really my type at first. I had my reservations about him, but getting to know him more in the story, made me change my mind. The more the story delved deeper into who he is, the more I (and Elyse) fell in love with him. Although shown to be somewhat of a playboy with a cocky attitude, Christian is actually sincere and an ambitions man, who is only the way he is because of the extreme pressure his dad puts on him. His little brother, Sebastian, is my personal favorite though, because he is such a darling! He isn't afraid to do what he wants and to break out from societal norms and traditional gender roles. Plus, I can definitely relate with his mermaid obsession!
The way the ocean is portrayed in this story made me feel like it is a whole character on its own. I really connected to it even more reading this, and I was able to empathize with how Elyse feels about her relationship with it. There's this constant struggle between her and the ocean and it is another relationship that I found very interesting to read about - even more so than her romance with Christian. There's a level of depth here and an understanding that only Elyse realizes as she comes to terms with her feelings with the ocean.
I had thought that this book would be a light and easy read for me, but it turns out it's much deeper than I thought. It actually puts several issues into discussion- politics, sexism, feminism, misogyny and so many more. There's also sex in the story, as well as female masturbation. Overall, I found this book very empowering for females, but with the heavy subject matter I would recommend this to more mature YA readers who would be able to understand and appreciate the story.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is not just a light summer or beach read - it is beautiful in its own right and definitely worth a read. Oh, and did I mention - there's also some mermaid lore in the story?