The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

bySarah Ockler

Paperback | June 7, 2016

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From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer comes a “compelling and original” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about a talented singer that loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.

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 suppresses 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…
Title:The Summer of Chasing MermaidsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.2 inPublished:June 7, 2016Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481401289

ISBN - 13:9781481401289


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I picked this book up on a whim, and i'm so happy I did! I loved it so much! I especially loved Sebastian!
Date published: 2018-09-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Kind of boring I wanted more but everything was either really boring or cheesy. Gets some points for fighting for gender inequality but that wasn't even that interesting either.
Date published: 2018-06-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Summer of Chasing Mermaids The brief mystical moments weren’t my favorite, but I really enjoyed the chemistry between Elyse and Christian, and Christian’s little brother was a standout character in his fight for gender equality. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Great! I really liked this book. It is probably my favourite that I've read of the retellings for #12DaysOfDiversity that I have hit up this week. But it still wasn't exactly a retelling, rather it had some of the same characters and a similar theme. I would say it is loosely based on The Little Mermaid rather than being a strict retelling. And it worked for me, but I am a sucker for a good contemporary novel and this really filled that gap for me. I thought that it was a tad long, like maybe 50 or so pages too long, especially since the ending didn't really clear anything up. But I really enjoyed reading it. Ockler has a great writing style and I found myself immersed in the pages of the book to the point that I didn't want to put it down. I had a lot of appointments that I had to wait for and read it in the waiting rooms and finished it within two hours because it was just that good. Once you start, you won't want to put it down. I so loved that not only was Elyse empowered without her voice, but she was empowered in her sexuality and there was on screen masturbation and sex! Because guess what! GIRLS DO THAT! It was so awesome to see that in a YA book and I will definitely be recommending this to people who are looking for that. (And telling those who don't want to read about that to stay away) But I love Elyse and her story, struggle, and life felt so real to me that I could see her right beside me. She was a great main character and even though she couldn't speak, she told her story and had such presence within the story. I would love a NA companion novel to this, just saying. I liked the female friendships in it as well, and thought they felt realistic with their ups and downs and discussing their lives and their relationships. I liked that Vanessa, Kirby, and Elyse felt like they could trust one another with anything and everything and I really liked that Elyse and Vanessa bonded quickly even though they both had a "thing" with the same guy. GUYS AREN'T WORTH LOSING FRIENDSHIPS OVER, LADIES. But Christian was great. I liked that he really opened up with Elyse and was so good about consent!!!!! And that they made each other better people!!! IDK I REALLY LIKED SEEING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP ON PAGE. It was just really nice to see two young adults (they were both over 18 but okay) who didn't quite know what they wanted in the future come together to realize that they could make it through anything. However, like I said above: this wasn't really a retelling. The characters were there but the story wasn't even close to being the same. And I was okay with that but I was surprised that this was even considered a retelling tbh. Again, not complaining!! I loved it!!!! But I was disappointed that there weren't more elements of the original story in this, especially since it was so long. That's just me though. I definitely recommend it though! Pick it up!
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring. 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.
Date published: 2016-12-19

Read from the Book

Summer of Chasing Mermaids Chapter 1 After spending the day in Aunt Lemon’s gift shop with a sticky note in the shape of a crab stuck to my boomsie (and no one even told me until after I’d escorted a pair of surfers to our collection of mermaid dashboard ornaments, and then my cousin Kirby sent me the picture, all, u got crabs!), I decided a little alone time was in order. If not for the crab incident, I probably would’ve just gone to Lemon’s Summer Solstice party tonight like I’d promised. Instead, I was slithering around the Chelsea Marina docks, hoping to reach my boat before Kirby ensnared me in her net. “Elyse!” Kirby shouted. “The party’s starting!” In a gauzy white dress and fitted denim jacket, she stood like a beacon in the sand, hands cupped around her mouth. Her voice skipped across the waves. “Where are you? Elyse!” She wasn’t my blood cousin—Her mother, Lemon, was Dad’s best friend, all the way back from their graduate-school days in Miami—and before this summer I’d only seen Kirby twice: the first time five years ago when they’d visited the islands, and then again a year later when our two families met up at Disneyland, my first visit to America. But I’d been in Oregon a month already now, living in her house, our toothbrushes cohabitating in the zebra cup in the bathroom, and still she couldn’t get my name right. Uh-leese, it was like. Close enough, maybe. It just didn’t sound-feel-comfort like home. Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . . Ay-leese, stop drowning yourself in hot sauce. Give it to me! Granna, you hear? Our Ay-leese, she got a boyfriend. Ay-leese, breathe! Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . . “But it’s the Solstice! And there’s . . . cake?” Kirby’s voice lacked conviction. She’d been searching the edges of the marina for twenty ­minutes, and I felt a little thrill that she hadn’t found me. Unseen in the shadows, I crept to the slip that held the old Albin Vega—last place on earth she’d check, since from a strictly “ownership” perspective the boat wasn’t mine. I waited until Kirby finally retreated, white dress vanishing like a sail in the mist, and then I climbed onto the deck and ducked through the companionway into the saloon. Freedom. For a holiday that was supposed to, according to Aunt Lemon, “honor the full strength of the Sun God,” the Oregon night was a bruise. I took in the blackness that seeped into the boat, the salty air, the mustiness that clung to torn seat cushions. But for the damp suck of the sea, all was soundless. The Vega rocked gently in the tumult, steadying herself, and my view of the sky—pink-purple-black through the starboard window—straightened. Tipped. Straightened again. The ship was a castaway among the polished vessels surrounding us, a forgotten relic here in Atargatis Cove. I didn’t even know her proper name. Queen of was all it said on the hull, once-gold letters peeling from the aqua-blue fiberglass. Could’ve been the Queen of Hearts or the Queen of the Damned for all I knew. But there was something special about that emptiness, the unknown, the unsaid. Potential undefined. She was abandoned, a fate we shared, which made her the perfect hideaway. The boat jostled as a wave hit, and I took a deep breath, fought a shiver. The sea can’t hurt me here. . . . I repeated the mantra in my head until fear left my limbs. Until I could breathe again. I lit the big candle I’d brought from Mermaid Tears—Lemon’s shop—to chase away the mustiness. OCEAN BREEZE, it said. It smelled like chemically enhanced coconut. Soft yellow light flickered into the saloon. Everything was as I’d left it. Straightened up, wiped down, cans of expired soup discarded. A fuzzy new blanket spread out in the V-berth, and another on top, for curling up. Scattered on the cushions, a few books Kirby had brought me from her volunteer job at the library. Some extra clothes, flip-flops, sunglasses I never seemed to need here in Oregon. My iPod. A box of crackers with the peanut butter already spread between them. A bundle of Sharpies, rubberbanded together, different thicknesses. My shoulders relaxed. The Vega was still unclaimed. I freed a mass of black curls from beneath the hood of my sweatshirt, and from a pocket in my denim cutoffs, fished out a handful of sea glass. Lemon was looking out for me this summer, so in addition to helping at Mermaid Tears, I tagged along on her morning beach combs. She collected glass to forge into sculptures, some for sale in the gift shop and others on display in the gallery above it. She valued each piece of glass like a gemstone, but she always let me keep some of the haul. I’d been saving it in an empty Costco jar that formerly contained a decade’s supply of pitted olives—my hourglass. Once the glass reached the top, things would be right again. Repaired, renewed, recovered. Rejuvenated. Restored. All the REs complete, and I’d be whole. Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . . My hand tipped into the jar, and I watched the colored bits clink and settle among the others, an inch of green-gray-blue rising like the tide. Whole. I didn’t really believe it, but it sounded nice, like a poem. Even if it were possible, what then? Where would I go? Not back. Not forward. I was here, drifting on the current, eighteen years old and totally unmoored. I pushed the jar back along a shelf in the triangular V-berth, way at the front of the boat, and settled into my favorite spot. My iPod still had a little charge, so I popped in an earbud and scrolled to a new playlist. Lemon had plenty of instrumental on her laptop—Native American wood flutes, classical, wind chimes, dolphin calls, ambient weirdness. On my first night in the States I’d desperately replaced my soca and calypso with it, erased even the reggae—anything that reminded me of home. Of who I should have been. Tonight I was onto Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites, track one. Music hummed in my right ear as I cranked the volume, but I wasn’t fool enough to sit alone on a boat with both ears covered. A calm ocean could change in an instant. Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . . By the time my screen read “Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major,” my heart rate finally mellowed, and I grabbed a Sharpie from the bundle. I found a clear spot among the tangle of words overhead—some nights my notebook wasn’t big enough—and pressed the tip to the low ceiling. Words spin and spill ink from a bottle of blood Queen of lurched left, a game we nightly played, and I tightened my grip on the marker, waiting for her to settle. She perpetually lost. Her body was inked with the evidence. A smudge, a smear, a shaky line of black letters stands erect, marches around my fingers, encouraging, Back on the island of Tobago, 7,040 kilometers—no, make that 4,375 miles—off the coast of my heartbeat, Dad and Granna had an old Albin Vega in the resort fleet, the Atlantica, a twenty-seven footer like this, one of three boats reserved for our guest charters. They’d taken the fourth out of commission in March, part of a long string of before-and-after afters that ended with me leaving for the States, but as far as I knew, the Atlantica was still going strong. It was the ship my twin sister Natalie had been born on. The one I’d been born next to. The last thing my mother saw. It was a dark and stormy night, our birth story. So they say. inspiring, yet ever Now, out here on these chilly summer nights, the pale scar of the moon cutting the Oregon haze, I wondered if Dad was out on the Vega too. Lying in the V-berth, staring at the same moon, thinking of me as I thought of him. Of my sisters and Granna. The cocoa pods, red-orange-yellow, stacked in pyramids after first harvest, spicing the air with their intoxicating plums-and-tobacco scent. Home. Do you miss me? soundless. “Keep your skirt on! Let me check it out, make sure she won’t sink.” A male voice accompanied shadows through the companionway and into the saloon. The boat bobbed under new weight, and I yanked out my earbud and bolted upright, narrowly avoiding a head injury. His image flickered in the candlelight. When he spotted me, he put one hand on his head, as if he’d anticipated the crash that never came, and said in a tone much softer than what he’d used on his friend, “Well. Hello there.” Unlike me, he was unalarmed, the ghost of a smile hovering on his lips. Something softened him around the edges—alcohol, probably—but his gaze was sharp and clear. Toes to curls, a shiver shook me. This boy wore the ocean in his eyes, green-gray-blue, ever shifting, and I recognized him immediately. Knew before he said another word that he was as dangerous as he was beautiful. Christian Kane. Official summer scoundrel of Atargatis Cove, fresh off his first year at Stanford. Aside from the upcoming Mermaid Festival and Pirate Regatta, the Kane family’s annual return was the talk of the town. And this son, the eldest? Kirby had him to thank for the cake tonight. Christian Kane had his own mythology, his own devoted following, much like Lemon’s Sun God. Fitting that they shared a birthday. I was frozen on the blanketed cushions as he scanned the scene: writing on the fiberglass walls and ceiling, damning black marker still clutched in my fingers. Somewhere beneath my elbow, two battered novels about the sea, ancient legends retold. A half-empty can of Coke on the shelf behind my head. A postcard from home, blank, tacked up on the wall. The yawning jar of sea glass, there next to the soda. Nautical charts and manuals once scattered throughout the saloon, now stacked neatly on the table beside the candle, held in place with a large rock carried in first by the tide, second by me. This ship had belonged to no one. I’d been so certain. And rickety and neglected as she was, I’d called her my home away from my home away from home, my sacred space. Now Christian’s gaze swept back to me and skimmed the unfamiliar legs stretched across the V-berth, brown skin made lavender by the moonlight. When he finally looked at me full on, his stormy eyes changed course. Confusion. Surprise. Intrigue. The last was the most worrisome. I tugged the hood up over my head, tied the strings across my seashell necklace and the scar gouged into the hollow of my throat. Breathe. . . . “Christian?” someone said, flirty and singsong. The breeze shifted, carrying a whiff of spicy vanilla perfume, and a girl crashed into him from behind. Her silver-tipped talons curled over his shoulders. “What’s the deal? I’m freezin’ my ass off.” Christian didn’t take his eyes off me, just raised a curious eyebrow that lit a spark in my chest. The girlfriend noticed me then, and around a faint smile, still watching me, Christian spoke plainly. “There’s a girl writing on my boat.” I basically ran.