The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Author: Sarah Ockler 
Pages: 368 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (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 Summary: Elyse was born to sing. 

Along with her twin, Elyse has been singing since she was a little kid, enchanting all those who hear her songs. That is, until the accident. 

With no voice and no chance of ever speaking again - let alone singing - Elyse cuts herself off from her family and everything she knows, getting as far away from her old life as possible. When the opportunity to move to Oregon presents itself, Elyse accepts without thinking twice.

But getting away from the ocean is impossible; Elyse has salt water in her veins. So when Christian Kane offers her a position as his first mate in a race to save the Cove, Elyse accepts despite her fear. 

Winning the race could mean saving her aunt's house, her business, and her home. Losing the race? Losing the race means losing everything.  

My Thoughts: I always have such high expectations whenever Sarah Ockler releases a new book, and every single time she manages to surpass them. 

No, let me rephrase that: she tramples them into the dirt.

I have never read a Sarah Ockler book that I didn't love, and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is no exception. Elyse's story was heartbreaking, and her journey to find her voice was a joy to experience. 

Every single one of Ockler's characters was complex and multidimensional. I loved little Sebastian and his dream of becoming a mermaid; Christian and his love for his brother; Lemon and her willingness to offer Elyse a home where she could bring herself back from the brink and begin to heal. Each one has their own special place in my heart.

The Little Mermaid has always been my favourite fairy tale, so it probably goes without saying that I loved every moment of this book. Elyse's connection to the ocean is such a huge part of her that it was heartbreaking to see her struggle to stay away from it. 

I loved that this novel touched on so many topics. Elyse accepting and learning to deal with her disability was such a huge part of the novel, as well as Christian learning to fight back against his father. Alongside this was Noah's father's sexism and Elyse's resentment toward her sister, and Ockler managed to address each without ever sounding preachy or overbearing. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary lit, romance, and new adult romance. 

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