Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—arrogant and completely charming. He’s also the only person who doesn’t treat Elyse like glass. He challenges her to express herself, and admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian. 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. (

The good
A contemporary retelling of The Little Mermaid? Sarah Ockler fulfilled a wish I didn’t even know I had! There are so many words I could use to describe this book. Dreamy yet vivid. Heartbreaking yet uplifting. I was super impressed by how the author chose to interpret this well-known fairytale. Elyse d’Abreau's life was perfect. Living in the Caribbean, youngest of six sisters, beautiful and talented singer on the path for stardom. Then a tragic accident takes it all away. She can’t speak, much less sing anymore, and she decides the best thing for her to do is accept a family friend’s invitation to stay in Atargatis Cove, a seaside town in Oregon. Away from her family and everything she’s ever known, she has to figure out who she is and what she wants. But it isn’t easy when the town, the people and who she is now feels foreign to her.

Elyse may not be able to speak but she’s expressive in so many other ways and being privy to all her thoughts makes you realize just how much has changed in her life. I didn’t blame her one bit for seeking escape and solitude. She used to be this vivacious, flirty girl who had the island at her feet and now.. now, she has no idea who she is or can be. But she has the support of an amazing cast of characters. There’s the family friend and her daughter who take Elyse in. Through them she has a maternal figure and a friend who try to be there for her but also struggle between that balance of when to push and when to step back. But the person who probably makes the most difference, in an unexpected way, is Christian Kane. He’s your typical cocky and charming ladies man and even though she’s met his type many times before, something about him unnerves her. In a good way. He treats her like she’s “normal”, genuinely wants to know her and challenges her. (He also has a super cute and sweet young brother who takes a liking to Elyse. I loved when the three of them would hang out!)

At the same time, there’s drama permeating the Cove and Elyse ends up getting involved. When Christian’s father decides to up the stakes of the yearly Pirate Regatta, Elyse becomes Christian’s new first mate. She decides to face her fear of the sea to help him, which is a huge step for her. As they salvage his boat and prepare themselves for the race, it allows her to acknowledge her feelings on her accident plus open herself up to Christian and the other new people in her life.

(Super minor) reservations
The ending is a bit open-ended and I did want to see more of the family she left behind in the Caribbean. But at the same time, Elyse’s journey is a long one and realistically unknown and I think the book matched that.

Do I recommend?
I’ve read almost all of Sarah Ockler’s books and if I had to rank them, this would definitely be high up on the list.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's your favorite reggae song?
This was an easy one for me! My favorite is "Action" by Terror Fabulous feat. Nadine Sutherland. It's older (think 90s!) but I have such vivid memories of driving with my best friend blasting this song on repeat. Enjoy! 


  1. I adored The Summer of Chasing Mermaids! I was honestly nervous going into it, but Ockler has created such an incredibly vivid cast of characters and compelling story. Loved this one!

  2. I just won this one from a giveaway and I am so excited to read it! Your review is one of many glowing ones. I can't wait to get to it.


with love,