It’s Not You, It’s Me – The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler {Book Review}

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerTitle: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date:  June 1st, 2015
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Goodreads link

My rating in stars: 3 stars
My rating in words: It was okay

What it’s about:

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 thoughts:

“When one dream burns to ash, you don’t crumble beneath it. You get on your hands and knees, and you sift through those ashes until you find the very last ember, the very last spark. Then you breathe. You breathe. You fucking breathe. And you make a new fire.”

Okay, I’m gonna be the odd one out here and say I didn’t love this book. I didn’t hate it either though. I just… didn’t care. And I think this is really all on me here, not the book at all. Because the book had a lot of things going for it, which I would normally really like:

An interesting and diverse main character. Elyse is from Tobago in the Caribbean and it is so refreshing and really interesting to read about her culture from her point of view.

A realistic take on trauma and finding your way. Elyse lost her voice in a mysterious accident and is now dealing with consequences. All her life she wanted to be a singer and now that that is taken away from her, she is suffering. There are steps forward and steps backward and there is no ‘love heals all’ thing going on, which I loved for its’ realism.

A fairytale retelling vibe. I loved all the ‘The Little Mermaid’ references and the mermaid festival seems so cute that I wish I could go there someday.

A cute romance that combines some of my favorite tropes into a whole new and unique concept. There are traces of opposites attract, dislike to love, working on a project together and even a bit of penpal romance with the talking through notes.

The absolute cutest 6-year old ever. I absolutely loved Sebastian Kane and I loved the family aspect. I loved his interactions with Christian and Elyse.

A lot of focus on equality. Both Elyse and Sebastian have to deal with prejudice. Elyse because she wants to sail in the ‘all-boys’ Pirate Regatta and Sebastian because he wants to march in the ‘all-girls’ mermaid parade. And they both deal with it wonderfully, proving that yes, girls can sail and yes, boys can be a mermaid queen! Both their personal victories had me wooping and cheering along with them.

So this book has a lot of great elements and I definitely would recommend you to give it a try if these things appeal to you in any way! However, while I enjoyed all these things, I just did not enjoy the whole as much as I would have liked. I didn’t care about the Regatta. I didn’t care about the romance. It was too long and I got bored. And I feel terrible about it. Maybe I was in the wrong mood set when I read this. Maybe I need to re-read it sometime in the future. But rest assured, I’m sure it’s all me. If this story sounds good to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to give it a try! I hope you will enjoy it so much more than I did.

Favorite quotes:

“Love didn’t save me; it changed me. Changed me into someone who could save myself.”

“It was one thing to have your own kind of hope, an ember you could nurture inside, something to inspire you when things got dark. If it died, it was on you; no one else even had to know about it, and you were free to reignite it, or to give up and walk away. But when you were carrying it with another person, for another person, it was a dangerous dream. Treacherous as the sea, yet fragile as a bubble.”

Have you read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids? What did you think about it?

2 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me – The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler {Book Review}

    • Lindsey Habets says:

      It’s the first contemporary retelling I’ve read so it was a nice surprise 🙂 even though of course it’s not the same as a fantasy retelling – there are no actual mermaids or anything. But there are some references, like the love of the sea, and the girl who lost her voice. There’s a mermaid legend and the little boy thinks the main character is the mermaid from that legend – things like that 🙂

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