Elyse d’Abreau always knew her future would be bright. Everyone in Tobago knew that Elyse and her twin sister were destined for music stardom–something that seemed within reach before a boating accident changed everything.
Now Elyse can’t sing anymore. She can’t even speak.
Haunted by reminders of everything she has lost, Elyse leaves her boisterous family and home in Tobago. She hopes to find solitude and some kind of peace in Atargatis Cove in Oregon.
Instead Elyse is drawn into the cove’s annual Pirate Regatta when she volunteers to serve as first mate to known playboy Christian Kane. Preparing for the high-stakes race Elyse begins to see new sides to Christian and even the cove itself. She also realizes that hiding from her past won’t solve any of her problems.
But before Elyse can map out a new future, she will have to rediscover her voice in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (2015) by Sarah Ockler.
As the title suggests, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. Ockler includes just enough elements to bring the original source material to mind while also straying far enough from her inspiration to ensure that this novel is entirely original.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is narrated by Elyse and imbued with her voice even though she cannot speak. Ockler juxtaposes Elyse’s actions with her inner thoughts to convey how Elyse struggles to understand who she is–who she can ever be–when her voice is gone.
The story centers on Elyse’s own development and her transformation as she understands that speaking up doesn’t always have to mean speaking out loud. This central focus creates a courageous story of empowerment for Elyse as well as the other characters in the novel, most notably Christian’s little brother Sebastian who is fascinated by mermaids. At the same time, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids offers discussions of feminism and equality. And, of course, there are mermaids and romance.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a thoughtful story about all of the ways people can lose their voices whether they are stolen, broken or silenced and how to get them back. It’s a story about creating a new future when your obvious path is lost to you. It’s a story about finding love and partnership and how those should be the same things. Most of all, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is about forging ahead even when the unknown is scary and what comes next is uncertain. Highly recommended.
Possible Pairings: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, Undercover by Beth Kephart, Moonglass by Jessi Kirby, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
10 thoughts on “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review”
LOVE YOUR REVIEW! Glad you liked it. :)
Thank you! This book was definitely everything I had hoped it would be.
Yay! That makes me happy. :)
I NEED this book in my life! I love all the themes that it deals with, especially the trying to figure out what you want out of life, what decisions to make, who you really are. I need books like this on a personal level, really! Fabulous review, I am so glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks Shannon. I feel like you’re going to totally love this one when you pick it up!
You know my thoughts on anything other than fantasy but I am VERY excited to read this one!! Probably because The Little Mermaid was a favorite of mine. i know its loosely based but i think the link will be enough to keep my attention. Great review
I think you’ll really enjoy this one. There’s a bit of a magic realism feel (sort of like The Accident Season has) so I feel like that “is this fantasy or not” will definitely pull you in.
I absolutely LOVED The Summer of Chasing Mermaids! It’s my favorite of the Sarah Ockler books I’ve read so far, because I thought the way she took elements from the original tale and incorporated them was so original. It’s a lovely story too!
This was my first Ockler but I definitely think I need to pick up her backlist now.
Really like your review! I read this one but haven’t had the chance to review it because I haven’t been able to capture all of my thoughts about it — you did a great job with it. I liked your line about love and partnership being the same thing; that’s definitely something that Elyse has to discover.