The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler // The Beautiful Cover Fools Readers

Saturday, 6 August 2016
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, by Sarah Ockler
Publication: June 2, 2015, by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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:

Oh no. For my first Sarah Ockler book, who is an author I have heard nothing but great things about, this did not go well at all. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a highly hyped book that I have been meaning to read for a long time because duh, THE LITTLE MERMAID. When I was young, my favourite film, Disney or not, was The Little Mermaid and I envied Ariel because she was so pretty and I loved her voice. Yeah, I had an obsession with singing and Sebastian the crab. Hearing that this is a YA retelling of that amazing story, I knew I had to pick it up and fall in love with it. The latter didn't happen. I did pick it up, though, so, yay. Don't let the cover fool you, okay? This has one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen, and I guess I based my expectations too much off of that. I didn't like this book at all. It was hard to get into, had an annoying heroine, and I was completely bored and confused at times.

Why confusion, you ask? It was hard for me to discern whether this book was fantasy or contemporary. Everything that Ockler wrote about seemed to have some fantasy aspect to it and I didn't know if I should be naïve and believe it, or just see it as a play with words. It's interesting how our protagonist, Elyse, doesn't speak and that she lost her voice, but that kind of annoyed me because she was annoying without words, and just listening to her thoughts was gross. I was really frustrated for most of the book. And the setting is this random Cove and there's pirates? It's weird. This whole book is weird. I also own #scandal by Ockler, so I'm excited to see how my opinion will turn out in the end. At least that one is a mystery-thriller. This? I don't even know what to call it.

I'm guessing that people are adoring this over the diversity. We can already see it from the cover. I have never read about a character who is Caribbean. Elyse is a first for me and honestly? That's really interesting. Diversity is important for me in books, but it's not everything either. It was just a minor highlight that Elyse was who she was.

This had a cheesy theme: finding your inner voice. The synopsis that Simon Pulse provided even says it. It's a play on words, people! Just because Elyse lost her voice because of that boating accident doesn't mean that the theme has to be about her finding her inner and outer voice. Ugh. *flips hair*

Elyse, of course, because this is a contemporary-romance novel, has a romantic relationship with the cute guy, Christian. I hated him too, so they're perfect for each other! I couldn't care less about how their relationship bloomed, or however you call it. What a stuck-up frat-boy-like-character.

Okay, so there isn't instalove, which is great, but the fact that the two characters weren't of my liking made me a bit frustrated. Meh. BUT SEBASTIAN GUYS. Sebastian is Christian's younger brother and like the crab in the movie, I loved this guy and how he contributed to the novel. Now, I must say that the relationship between him and Elyse was adorable times a hundred.

This had potential. So much of it. If you believe in relatable, strong protagonists who don't have any bit of annoyingness in them, this isn't the book for you. Elyse, this book's "heroine," if that's what you call her (I wouldn't) was the major downer of this story. Sarah Ockler has been compared to other contemporary authors who are favourites of mine, like Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, but I totally do not believe in that statement. This is a contemporary gone wrong into the hole of boringness. 

What is a contemporary novel that didn't go well for you? Do you like Sarah Ockler's writing?

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