Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Source: Library
Date Read: 11/12/15 to 11/14/15
416 pages
Rating: 1/2

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 . . .

I was pleasantly surprised with how this Little Mermaid retelling went, like REALLY HAPPY that all the reviews I read of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids lived up to the book. This is truly a diverse novel, with a person of color who has a disability (in that she is mute).

For me, seeing Elyse without her voice, with all her dreams and plans crushed because of it, literally crushed my heart. It constantly made me think of my own future, and what would happen if that was all taken away from me. However, I realized, like Elyse, that having a home and finding your family is what really matters. Which is why it is not only the love interest, Christian, that helps her recover what she's lost, but also her family and friends. 

Even though the plot revolved around Elyse helping Christian fix up his boat to win the Pirate Regatta, a race that the both need to win due to an idiotic bet his father made with the mayor, it mainly focused on Elyse's recovery. As she hung out with both Christian, his adorable little brother Sebastian, she learns to look forward to the future again and face her fears with the sea. 

Speaking of the adorable little child---I mean brother, I can't really put into words how much of an impact he had on Elyse. First off, CHILDREN. You don't normally see such well developed children in YA, especially in the form of a younger brother. And he definitely had a personality. He loves mermaids, and he always wants to go searching for them in the cove. My favorite part is that this is not gender stereotyped at all, especially his love for dressing up as a mermaid. And everyone's support for him (Except the father and the mayor because ugh).

So here's a sum up so far of all the amazing things going on in this book.
  • Diversity
  • Feminism in Gender Equality/NO Gender Stereotypes
  • Awesome friendships and family
  • Romantic interest is not a jerk, and actually APPRECIATES Elyse for who she is, even though she can't talk.
Oh, and I forgot something.

An actual mention of self-pleasure AND I AM SO HAPPY because it was in a positive light (why wouldn't it be?) and though it wasn't super detailed, it was very easy to understand what was going on. I think this is such a good message to the target audience (and I mean everyone, really) because it shows that masturbation isn't this taboo thing, and it's good to explore your body. So yeah, this made me incredibly excited because I honestly thought this novel wasn't going to get any better.

I think I'm going to stop here because I have done so much talking about the awesomeness of this book. However, before that, I do want to mention that it has kind of bothered me that the model on the cover seems whitewashed. Is this just me and my thinking? It was mentioned that Elyse was dark-skinned, but I'm not sure how dark. Anyways, it has nothing to do with the content of the book.

Overall, everyone needs to read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, because even though it is a contemporary retelling, it sure does a good job in tying it back to The Little Mermaid. Like a REALLY good job. So yes. READ. READ IT. 
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