Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Recommended for: Grades 8 & Up
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Ockler, S.
Synopsis: 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 . . .
My thoughts: I normally love Ockler, but this one took me a bit to fall in love with. It could have just been one of those wrong book/wrong moment things as I’ve talked to others who have loved it. While it looks like it should be a romance book, the focus is way more on Elyse and Christian healing/standing up for themselves than them falling in love. There is certainly a lot of feels, but there’s a lot of fun as well.
I did think think the book dragged for me until the mid-point, once I hit that moment I totally loved it. I will say, one of my favorite scenes is how the group rallies around Christian’s younger brother when he wants to enter the mermaid parade. The kid LOVES mermaids more than anyone else, but he’s denied because he’s a boy. They way it works out is near perfection. There is also a very strong feminist feel to this book in almost ever aspect. It was refreshing to see Ockler hit some of the topics in a very organic way. It never felt forced or preachy.
So, maybe not my favorite Ockler book, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. A very solid read overall.