The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

published on June 2nd 2015 by Simon Pulse
young adult | contemporary | romance | retellings

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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 received a digital review copy for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an advanced copy for review.


This book, you guys. THIS. BOOK. It’s the holy-shit-my-brain-just-died kind of amazing. This is not a hyperbole–I’m a hundred percent serious.

First off, we have such an amazing heroine, Elyse. She’s from the Caribbean and is a person of color, and she lost her voice in an accident that happened before the events in the book. Aside from being an amazingly diverse character, Elyse also proved to be such a strong, supportive and realistic main character. You are going to love the way she cares for other people so wholeheartedly, and how she works so hard to achieve her goals. She is going to be your next role model.

All the other characters were just as lovable and incredible as Elyse was. We have Christian, Elyse’s cocky but charming and very ambitious love interest. At first you’ll have your doubts about him, but once you really get to know him, you’ll fall for him as hard as I did Elyse did. There’s also Sebastian, Christian’s younger brother, who just wants to do what he wants without being judged. He was such a sweetheart, and I can’t decide who I want to marry: him or his older brother!

This book may seem light at first, but it’s actually pretty deep and covers a lot of issues, including sexism, misogyny and many others. I especially loved that these issues were tackled in a The story was just enhanced by Sarah Ockler’s heartfelt and gorgeous writing. (Believe me, I was actually interested in the little poetry this book had!)

Oh, let’s not forget to talk about the romance. Elyse and Christian don’t get along at first, but when they did, they formed such a deep connection with each other, the kind of connection that we readers can feel as well. This was the kind of romance that made me swoon, cry, and basically run out of breath. I ship these two so hard even if I want Christian for myselfAnd this book’s also pretty sex positive, which I always appreciate in YA. There’s also female masturbation in it, in case you were curious.

Bonus points because this book is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid, which I adore.

The gist of this review is that you must read this book. Or else we can’t be friends.

Skulls 5

Graphic Porn

book edition: eARC

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

graphic © Aimee (Deadly Darlings)
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About Aimee
Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblrall of Aimee’s posts →


57 thoughts on “Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

  1. OH wow! This one sounds fantastic, that’s horrible the poor girl lost her voice but still works at overcoming it. Also, I love hearing that the romance isn’t just instant, it slowly develops and changes from friendship to love. So cute! The fact this is a retelling of the Little Mermaid really puts it over the top, usually these types of stories are told through paranormal books. Fantastic review Aimee! <3


  2. Lol I read the “Graphic Porn” label COMPLETELY differently – was like, I’m halfway through, does the graphic porn happen in the last chapter or something? BAHA.

    Anyway, I’m loving this book. Authentic culture/diversity, a little boy who doesn’t conform to stereotypes, supportive families, whether by blood or not, etc. Superb review!


  3. What a great review Aimee! I keep seeing this popping up and, to be honest, they had me at loose retelling of the Little Mermaid. I’m so happy about the diversity in the book and that the MC is a good role model. Will definitely be reading this one.


  4. I trust you on whether the POC characters and diversity were written respectably, Amy, so I can’t wait to meet Elyse! And it’s been a long time since I came across a protagonist that inspired me and made me see her as a role model omg I love the sound of this characterization so much already *_*


  5. I’m pretty sure I need to read this now. All the points in your review make me want to read this. I’ll definitely add it.


  6. OH MY GOSH YESSSSSSS I TOTALLY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. It’s my birthday soon. I am either going to a) force my family to buy me it or b) buy it myself. Happy birthday to me.

    You have seriously made me so excited!! Feminism and diverse characters and a swoony romance and it’s a retelling and just ack. Love it.


  7. I have read so many amazing reviews of this book! It’s on my to-read list, but it’s so pricey! I am hoping the price goes down a bit eventually and I’ll grab it then. The Main character sounds like a great character and the plot with her losing her voice sounds original. And I like how you describe it as feeling like a light book and adressing some heavy issues as well. Great review! I definitely need to get my hands on a copy!


  8. WOW, 5 stars!! I am SO happy to hear The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was worth the read. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Ockler, and so this newest release of hers has been on my radar for months now. And thankfully June 2 is now here! I can’t wait to pick up my own copy. Thanks for the well-written, informative review, Aimee.


  9. AIMEE. CHRISTIAN AND ELYSE. I know the book was about SO MUCH MORE than romance, but THOSE TWO. MY HEART. They’re basically at Anna and St. Clair levels for me. But probably higher. And they both just deserve all the hugs in the world, especially Elyse. I already knew you liked it but it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to read this review <3


  10. If the blurb wasn’t already as amazing as it was, your review definitely would have made me pick it up. I’ve been going through a contemporary phase recently so I really can’t wait to read this :D


  11. So now I’m desperate to read this! It sounds brilliant, plus I don’t think I can resist a Little Mermaid retelling. :) Great review!


  12. I’ve heard nothing but praise for this book and in fact, one of my most trusted blogging friends gave it a glowing five-star review just today. I haven’t read any of Ockler’s books, although I own some, but I’ll definitely be reading this one, and soon.


  13. Lovely review, Aimee! I agree completely. This was such a beautifully told book, and the characters (well, most of them) were all so loveable and three-dimensional. I really liked all of the themes Sarah incorporated too, outside of just a contemporary retelling. :)


  14. Yes to diversity and sex positive YA! I especially like that it features a poc on its cover. Enough whitewashing already. And I think I’ll like the romance of this one. Well done with the review, Aimee!


  15. This is the best review I have seen for The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. I have been planning on reading it myself, since I have yet to see an extremely negative review, but I had no idea that there is some heavier content. I look forward to a meatier piece than I originally anticipated. Thank you for reviewing it.


  16. Well, that settles it, I will need to read this book! On one hand, I had wanted to read it because yay for diversity, but the cover is SO cheesy, and I am guilty of apparently judging this book by its cover. But I now HAVE to have it. Actually, I kind of wish I had bought it when I was at the bookstore a few hours ago! Also, I do still want to be friends, so I guess I am being forced to read it either way ;)


    1. This book is FANTASTIC, Shannon. And it’s the thought that counts so our friendship is pretty solid right now. ;D But I agree–I hate that cover so much, haha!


  17. I absolutely need this book in my life! I love the fact that this is a GOOD CONTEMPORARY RETELLING of The Little Mermaid, and it also brings up all those issues. And the MC sounds wonderful.


  18. I love the sound of this book! First of all it’s a retelling and I am seriously in love with those things for starters xd I honestly, cannot get enough of them! Especially it being the Little Mermaid which is unique. And the diverse and awesome characters had me sold right then and there.


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