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Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Blurb from Goodreads:
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:
I have mixed feelings about this book -- while I liked the story and loved the setting, I felt a bit bored at times.  I also did not love the main character, Elyse.  I did love some of the secondary characters, especially Sebastian, but I had a hard time connecting with Elyse.  She was so guarded in the book that I felt like she was even guarded a first person narrator.  Her motivation and true feelings aren't revealed until the very end of the book.  The use of a lot of prose also lost me and I went on auto-pilot while reading.  While much of the book was beautifully written, and it was definitely a unique story, I feel like this could have been an amazing book with some more editing and character development.  The ending also killed my review a bit -- it was so anti-climatic after the entire book was building toward one day.  

I would recommend this to NA fans -- this is a great summer read and the setting on the Oregon coast could not be better!  There is a bit of the mystical in this book but mostly just a good contemporary.  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids came out this week, and you can purchase HERE!
Time came to a standstill as Christian and I watched the monarchs in their tiny dance, lost in the music of Sebastian's laughter.
I tried desperately to grab on to the moment, to the feeling, to hold it in my heart.  But beauty is by its very nature elusive, slippery.  
A fragment, a flash.  
Here and gone again.  
The trees shuddered with my heart, and the clouds shifted, returning the forest to its misty gray.  
The butterflies took flight. 


  1. I love Sarah Ockler and everyone has been saying such lovely things about this one that i'm dying to get my hands on it. Lovely review!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  2. Review twinsies!!! <3 Looks like I liked this one a bit more, but I can see where you're coming from. Especially about having difficulty connecting with Elyse. She was a tougher MC for sure. Great review! :)

  3. I was really curious about this book! But I don't think I'll pick it up - I don't think I can go for a anti-climatic at the moment. Thanks for the review - really helpful =)

  4. I had some issues with my last Sarah Ockler, so I'm not sure I'd pick this up even without seeing your review, Eva. It's really hard to enjoy a story when you don't much like the main character. Great, insightful review! :)

  5. I struggled a bit with the writing at first too, but I got used to it pretty soon. I liked this one although I agree about the ending.

  6. Wow this is the first meh ish review I have seen of this one. I have a feeling my thoughts will be closing to yours than all the glowing reviews. But I am still looking forward to this one.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  7. I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the glowing reviews and the meh reviews - I didn't have the same feeling as you on the anti-climacticness or the prose - actually, I thought it was gorgeous, gorgeous writing, and I loved the characters. For me, the story just slowed down a bit in the middle, but I loved the themes of feminism and power that wove it together. Sorry that you didn't love it as much.

  8. I agree. Loved the mystical element of the story and how Sarah related it to what Elyse was going through. I can see how it'd be hard for some to connect with Elyse, being how guarded she was. It definitely is a lengthy book too but still, the writing is wonderful. Makes me feel like i'm actually in the story.

  9. Hmm, I had kind of high hopes for this one, but it's sad to hear you were a little bored and that the characters needed work. Buuuuut a mystical Pacific Northwest setting? I'm so tempted!
    - Lina @ Every Book a World

    1. I would still recommend because everyone loves it so much -- and I did think the writing was beautiful and loved the setting!

  10. I really like this one because I felt that it was a twist on the typical fairy tale retelling. I agree with you the Elyse was guarded, but I actually felt it kind of added to her characterization, like she couldn't admit the truth about things to even herself for the longest time? At any rate I adored Sebastian and I agree that the setting adds to the appeal! Great review!


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