Friday, May 29, 2015

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids ~ Sarah Ockler (earc) review [@sarahockler @simonteen]

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Simon Pulse
June 2, 2015
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


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 . . .
Elyse's character, where she is, why she's there and who she is, are compelling from the very beginning. I like that she is not a typical, predictable character. From being from Tobago, her plans of being famous (the why, how), her family, where they lived and what they do, and why she's now in Oregon.

It was great that we did not know what happened to cause Elyse to lose her voice. Instead of getting the facts, we get pieces of the puzzle but rely mainly on Elyse's thoughts about it. I preferred it this way, so much more, because it gives a much better look at her emotions. Through how she's coping, who she does or doesn't blame we can really see how she feels about what happened, about how her future looks now. It works infinitely better than stating, 'X happened to Elyse' at the start.

The introduction of Christian's character - to Elyse - and the story is fantastic. It also does a great job showing, immediately, the different parts of his life. I grew to like him more and more as the story progressed. I do wish, however, that there had been a bit more exploration (or explanation) of his status as the Cove's playboy, some of the truth, etc behind that.

Elyse may literally lose her voice, but The Summer of Chasing Mermaids does a superb job with the other ways one's voice can be lost. From characters who are afraid to stand up for themselves, or ones who can't find the right things to say, even Elyse who seems to be losing who she is (or was or should be now). The metaphorical voice losses pair very well with Elyse's physical loss.

I did wish someone in their group - or even in the Cove - had watched Angel or Buffy (or Leverage, I guess) and knew that Christian Kane is also the name of the actor who played Lindsey on Angel . . . oh well. None of the characters may ever think WWBD? (What Would Buffy Do?) but the character/person one of them thinks of in the WW_D? question is a more than acceptable choice. (As is the action she takes as a result of asking.)

Elyse and Christian are wonderful together, Lemon was a great, unique character who was perfect for the story, and the other characters all work well together and make for a great tale. Elyse and Sebastian, together, separately, were my absolute favorites, though. I loved, loved Sebastian's character, what he brought out of the others, what he illustrated for them and how Elyse reacted to and because of him.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a sweet romance, but the story also deals with deeper issues - Elyse's loss and her future, family relationships and their struggles, life changes, friendship, love.







digital copy received, via Edelweiss, from publisher for review

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