Thursday, May 14, 2015

ARC Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Source: Printed ARC from Simon Pulse
Goodreads | 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…

My Review

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is a book that readers soon won't forget. It's beautiful, gritty, magical, and realistic. It's also a story of self-discovery that will have readers cheering for so many different characters during the book. In my opinion, it's a great contemporary fairy tale retelling, and this is a book that should be on everyone's radar this summer.

The first amazing this about Ockler's latest book is the diversity! Seriously... there's so much of it. Our main character, Elyse, is from the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and she's spent pretty much all of her life on and in the waters surrounding Tobago. There's just so much diversity going on with her from her cultural background to her personal history, and readers of all backgrounds will love and adore her. The book is also domestically diverse, meaning that people from all over the United States come together in the summers when they stay in the small coastal town of Atargatis Cove. All of these differences keep readers on their toes, and it makes for one hell of a reading experience.

Ockler tackles many controversial issues in her books, and this novel is no exception. She takes on gender inequality from both sides by including a sexist mayor who doesn't think Elyse should be a first mate in the town's annual Pirate Regatta, and a father who is ashamed of his son who would rather do things that many people would constitute as "girly." It's refreshing and unexpected to see an author address both sides of gender inequality, and my love for Sarah Ockler grew so much more because of it. (And I was already a huge Sarah Ockler fangirl.)

Earlier, I stated that this new novel is a fairy tale retelling, and Ockler breathes new life into the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale by alluding to it and even parts of the Disney film that so many people have come to love over the years. Even though this is a contemporary YA novel, the retelling aspect gives the book a magical realism feel, and she weaves together a beautiful story of self-discovery.

Ockler's writing comes to life in this book. The book is full of magical and lyrical prose that just screams perfection. Within minutes, I was hooked because Ockler just has a way with words that grabs and captivates readers. Her metaphors are continuous, and she often revisits them throughout the book. Those everlasting metaphors make for a book that feels whole because she is able to relate so many different events in the books to the same series of words.

I would recommend this book to fans of Sarah's debut, Twenty Boy Summer because it has a more mature feel to it that will keep older teens and adults entertained. I'd also recommend this novel as a starting book for readers who have never read Sarah Ockler before because it's simply sensational and satisfying. Readers will really get a feel for how great of an author Ockler is, and why I think she's one of the Queens of Contemporary YA. 

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of young adult novels, including #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, hits the shelves in June 2015.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in Washington, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

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  1. I loved Twenty Boy Summer but am kind of struggling with this one so far. Prose can be really hit or miss for me - mostly miss - but that's just my personal reading style. I can't deal with/follow the metaphors as much as I'd like. I can absolutely, objectively, appreciate her gorgeous writing style...but it just takes a while for me to get into it. I'm really curious about what's going to happen next, especially some of the retelling elements.. I'm only a quarter of the way through so I'm excited to see how things go!

  2. How exciting!!! I can't wait to read this one! Great review!

  3. Oh no! I've always been a fan of books like that because I feel like they just take me away from the moment. But... it could be the English teacher thing too. I'll never know. I will admit that the prologue confused me a bit, and I read it three times to get a handle on how she was writing this one, but it got so much better as the book went on.

    It's a beautiful story, so I hope the writing doesn't take too much away from it for you. I can't wait to read your review. :)

  4. Well of course I'm going to read this! I absolutely love Sarah Ockler and the cover intrigues me as a great contemporary read. Gurll I see you're read Immaculate now. It's soo good and I just finished it for the blog tour I was in. Just wanted to check in and see if u liked it so far? it's also like self-discovery and I really loved the protag. I had to fangirl about Immaculate here too lol :D

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  5. Wait is there really magical realism in this? Because you have me CONVINCED. I think I have yet to read a little mermaid retelling, even though this falls on the more contemporary side :) AWESOME REVIEW ERIN. I will see if I can read this soon :D

  6. Kayla @ The Thousand LivesMay 14, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    YES ALL OF THIS! The gender role-adhering mayor was killing me, and that ending was just amazing! Chasing Mermaids was actually my first Ockler, but I've already ordered #scandal because I need more :D

  7. I don't know if it's officially that, but it felt like it to me in some chapters, and it was beautiful. It's definitely more contemporary, but there are hints of magical realism.

    Thanks, Valerie! :)

  8. OMG, right? He made me so angry... like full on Princess Giselle "I'm angry" GIF was almost used, but I don't do GIF reviews.

    This was your first Ockler? I've read all of them now but #scandal, but it's been sitting on my shelf for a while. I'll have to get to it soon.

  9. I am getting so excited for this book as I see reviews coming in. I haven't read Ockler before but this definitely seems like the perfect book to start with. Thanks for the review!

  10. I need to check out some of those reviews. I haven't seen any yet.

    I love Sarah Ockler, and this one is definitely her best. It's just charmingly perfect.

  11. I haven't read a S.O. book, but this sounds like a win all the way around. Thank you for the great review and recommendation. I am adding it to my TBR.
    Suzi Q., The Book Dame

  12. I finished this book a few days ago and loved it! It was fun, I loved the plot, and the characters. I loved how I was able to enjoy this when Elyse only had speaking lines in flashbacks. One thing that I questioned was whether Christian was actually going to stay with Elyse or it was just a fling when they first started getting together. Sarah made Christian seem like a HUGE player and that really caught up to me. Of course, I was so glad to see Christian didn't hurt Elyse (Emotionally) in this book! Great review!

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

  13. I would highly recommend all of her books. My favorites are definitely this one, Twenty Boy Summer, and The Book of Broken Hearts.

    I hope you enjoy The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. :)

  14. Yay! I'm so glad that you liked it too, Kaitlyn! :)

    The flashbacks when she could speak were awesome and just a tad bittersweet.

    I kind of had a feeling that Christian would turn out to be an alright guy. I liked how she wrote him and had the changes in his character.

  15. Thank you, Erin. I will let you know when I have read it.

  16. Aw man, Erin. Now I hafta read this book NOW. I love the concept of addressing gender inequality from both sides. It's new and fresh and gah. Can't wait! Mermaids will be my first Ockler read but looks like I'm going to be going on a binge soon :)

    Rhea @ Rhea's Neon Journal

  17. YAY! I'm so glad that you're going to read it because it's such a beautiful book. And I'm so happy that you might binge read some of Ockler's other books. They are all so good and special in their own ways. I really recommend Twenty Boy Summer and The Book of Broken Hearts.

  18. I'm starting Twenty Boy Summer soon! It sounds amazing <3 Thank youuu :)

  19. Yay! I hope you love it! It's definitely one of my favorite books ever. :)


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