The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Published: June 2, 2015 by Simon Pulse
Source: ARC from publisher
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 . . . [goodreads]
Sarah Ockler delivers another stellar performance with her latest YA contemporary, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. She out does herself on the richness and authenticity with this particular story. I felt myself completely connected to the characters and its setting. In true Ockler fashion, she makes it difficult to look away until you've reached that final page -- only to find yourself flipping back to the front, wanting to revisit it all over again.
Elyse's character is someone who will definitely stand out in my mind for many books to come. I wasn't sure how I would respond to a character that was mute, but I found myself truly connecting with her despite these obstacles. Her voice spoke volumes through her actions, as well as her inner dialogue. Her pain played a key role in propelling the story forward, as well as a catalyst for the amount of personal growth she endures.
I always gravitate towards stories in a beach-side setting, but this one felt very unique on the Oregon coast. I really loved the attention to detail that Ockler gave the landscape and how it interacted with the characters themselves. Even though Elyse's character carved out a place inside my heart, I've also made room for Christian as well. His own hardships slowly presented themselves, but never took away from Elyse's story. These two characters molded into a beautiful story, complimenting one another, even at their most difficult times.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids tells a story about second chances, and facing fears. It dig deeps with emotion, creating a bold portrait in hues of forgiveness and humility. I have strong feelings that I'll be recommending this Ockler book, along with her backlist, for years to come.