*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is a new contemporary novel releasing on June 2nd and once I heard it had been inspired by The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to read it. The story follows a girl named Elyse who lost the ability to sing or even speak. Elyse had been offered a record deal and opportunity to tour alongside her twin sister in Tobago and after the horrible accident she suffered, she began to distance herself from all of the people in her life and she accepted an invitation to stay in Atargatis Cove with her aunt Lemon. While she’s there, she makes becomes friendly with Kirby and Vanessa and gets involved with a misunderstood rich boy who is being forced to race against his best friend in the annual Pirate Regatta because of a bet his father made. (I also have to note that the cover is freaking beautiful!)
I really enjoyed reading this book. The beginning was a tad bit slow for me but the writing is so beautiful that I didn’t really mind my lack of an initial connection to the characters (which completely changed as I kept reading). Being inspired by The Little Mermaid, some of my favorite parallels were the shell necklace Elyse wore all the time to cover the scar on her neck which took away her voice, Christian’s little brother Sebastian who I just wanted to hug and hunt for mermaids with, and the eels in the scene with Atargatis, the mermaid of legend that the Cove was named for.
Elyse’s POV is fascinating to read from. Because she is unable to speak, I felt like she paid such close attention to the nuances of others and the reader is able to get a supremely insightful view of the characters she interacts with. The amount of growth that Elyse goes through and the way she handles the consequences of her accident are very real and very inspiring. I admire her for standing up for what she believes in and for not letting the lack of vocal chords silence her. The only thing that seemed a little bit unrealistic to me was the ability of the other characters to read Elyse’s lips when she would mouth full sentences. But I loved when Elyse would write down her feelings for others to read because she always conveyed them poetically. I think it’s important to read diverse books and I’m so happy to have gotten the chance to learn about Elyse’s life back home in Tobago.
I really felt for the Kane brother’s throughout the entirety of the story. As I previously mentioned, I absolutely adored Sebastian. He’s a little boy who is fascinated by mermaids and after spending all of his time reading about them, his dream for the summer is to march in the annual Mermaid Parade but unfortunately, the rules say that no boys are allowed. It doesn’t help that his father is also less than accepting of his son and his interests. His brother Christian on the other hand, who is the playboy of the Cove, does everything he possible can to encourage Sebastian. Their brotherly relationship is really sweet. While Christian is more interested in women and boat racing, his father has never acted lovingly toward him either. Then Mr. Kane makes a bet with the mayor that Christian will beat his son Noah in the annual Pirate Regatta or he will sell his house to the big company interested in overrunning the Cove with Starbucks’ and other franchises unworthy of Cove real estate. He does this without considering any of his family’s feelings for the house they’ve summered in their entire lives.
Final Thoughts: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is a thought provoking read inspired by The Little Mermaid and is about the different ways a person can make their voice heard. The story is beautifully narrated by Elyse who is incapable of speaking undergoes major character growth after teaming up with bad boy Christian Kane for a high stakes bet his father placed on him in the annual Pirate Regatta. Whether you’ll be heading to the beach this summer or relaxin indoors in air conditioning, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a must read!
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 . . . (via Goodreads)