[543]: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Simon Pulse | Hardcover, 368 pp. | June 2nd, 2015 | Young Adult | Romance | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The last book I’ve read from Sarah was Fixing Delilah back in 2010. It was the beginning of my love affair with Young Adult novels. Fixing Delilah, I thought, was an exceptionally heart-wrenching read. Believe it or not, I was kind of expecting the same. It was tragic and sad at  times, but not overly so.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids features a character who’d recently lost a part of who she is. She was a songbird with a bright future in the entertainment industry, but an accident rendered her unable to speak, let alone sing. In an attempt to escape all the painful reminders of her old life, she cut herself off from her home in Trinidad-Tobago and from her family. Her move to Oregon was her way of dealing with her new reality. One where she can’t speak, not even use sign language. With a sharpie and a notebook, life in Atargatis Cove will force her to face her past; to learn to love, to forgive, and eventually, accept who’d she become.

There is a mystical quality to this story. It was in the way Elyse respected the power of the ocean and the deliberate way Ockler hid the details of her accident. The narrative was poetic at times; sometimes, dark and sinister. There is a tale about a revengeful sea goddess of sort that adds another layer of mysticism to this novel. But rest assured, this is not a paranormal novel. It was all contemporary fiction.

I was unclear about the circumstances of her accident. I’m not a doctor by any stretch of imagination, but <spoiler>if she drowned, then a tracheotomy <end of spoiler>would not make sense. That is how she lost her voice. If you’ve read this book, please feel free to correct me. Because <spoiler> a drowning person means, her lungs are filled with water. A tracheotomy is used when a person is choking on something. <end of spoiler> I wasn’t a fan of her romantic counterpart as well. He’s an apparent ‘man-whore’ or ‘boy-whore’ as it were. I don’t get the fascination with him.

This book sure has its pros and cons. But if you’re looking for the perfect beach read, this one is it.


  • Stunning review Joy. <3 I'm glad you liked this one, though sorry it wasn't perfect : I do think it looks cute. But I would not like the plot, lol. And ugh, I'm sorry you didn't like the boy. That is never a good sign. Sigh. But your review is amazing 😀

  • I couldn’t get your spoilers to open but that’s okay. I have read several reviews of this and I don’t think they were very good. Think I will pass but thanks for sharing!

  • I really do want to try this one because I know it is a retelling of the Little Mermaid and well, I am someone who is crazy about retellings. I am also very curious to see how she managed to keep this a contemporary read as well. That couldn’t have been easy. So we shall see how this one goes for me! It’s on my TBR.

  • I had to check your spoilers, and I am with you, that doesn’t make sense to me either, but it does sound like a sweet read.

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  • The Quiet Concert

    Hmm little nervous about this love interest if he’s a man whore. But I do plan on reading this one someday. Love the picture you took!

  • Although I’m no expert either, I’m thinking what you said in your spoiler is correct. I’m having a real hard time with YA contemporary romance lately and so I don’t think I’d do well with this one. Especially if you didn’t care for the love interest. I do find the whole settling into a different life after tragedy very interesting, though, so maybe I shouldn’t discount this book altogether. Lovely review, Joy! 🙂

  • Aw, I loved this one. I admit I didn’t even think about the medical aspect of losing her voice and the accident, though! Now I want to know why she’d have it happen like that…

  • Nicole Hewitt

    Sounds like an easy summer read when you’re looking for something without a lot of depth (sometimes it’s nice to turn my brain off!). I’ve wanted to pick this one up – I didn’t read your spoiler, but now I’m curious!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • What a beautiful cover! And a main character of colour as well, yay! I’m not a doctor either so I can’t clarify with you about the spoilers Joy, but it is very odd. Sounds like a deeply moving book, too bad about the lame romance though 😛

  • I can see why you didn’t fall in love with this one but I definitely did. It somehow just worked for me and while I’m sorry to see you didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did, I’m still glad you gave it a shot and liked reading Ockler’s latest. I know for me it was much more successful than #scandal, that’s for sure, but I’m still a huge fan of her and am glad to hear that Fixing Deliah was a solid novel. Great review, Joy!

  • I´m also not sure if what you mention in the spoiler is viable but for the sake of the story I choose to believe it. Great review Joy.

  • I actually am looking for the perfect beach read during this heat wave and although I’ve been a bit tired of YA lately, I think it’s time to give Ockler a chance. I actually own three of her books, but I haven’t read them. I’m sorry this wasn’t a complete success for you, but at least you enjoyed it overall.

  • Awesome review Joy! I’ve heard so many good things about this book so I’m glad you really enjoyed it. When I heard this was abut a heroine that lost her voice, I was like: I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK! hehe

  • I’m not fond of water-themed novels from mermaids to rescuing whales… so is this like a magic realism kind of story?

  • I know so many people have been RAVING about this one and how it was just so perfect. I love the twist that it’s contemporary and not a “fantasy retelling”! Losing and finding your voice again is just so symbolic in a very poetic and romantic and enlightening sense so I can’t wait to finally get a copy of this one (which I fervently hope is soon!)

    Faye at The Social Potato

  • This is definitely a great summer read. I’m glad you liked it even if you weren’t completely in love with it. Great review!

  • I was confused by the back and forth to mythical and contemp, I couldn’t finish but know that quite a few loved.

  • I do tire of the man-whore characters, but I’ve been a huge fan of Sarah’s in the past, so I still want to give this one a try Joy! I didn’t realize it had a magical/mystical element, so that has me curious as well. Lovely review as always:)

  • I’m so sad you didn’t love this one more, but I understand where you’re coming from. The player type of love interest doesn’t always work for me either, but I did like this guy a lot. Although, for me the best part was the little guy! He was so adorable.
    Great review, Joy!

  • Like you, I felt like this book had great aspects to it, but there were some issues as well. I definitely wasn’t a fan of love interest either. I think it is a great book for a day at the beach though….you are right about that! And I don’t totally comprehend the tracheotomy either. Great review!

  • Too bad some things were confusing like that but it sounds good in a whole. And yes… like B and C I had to read the spoilers lol

  • Christy

    Dammit, Joy … you’re really testing my willpower with those spoilers. I set this book aside because I wasn’t really in the mood for it at the time. Now I want to read it just so I know what your spoilers are!

  • That spoiler made me go hmmmm