The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: June 2, 2015

Source: Edelweiss

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Whenever you hear “this is the perfect beach/summer read!”, you probably think that the book is cute & fluffy, light, and perhaps funny. Well let me tell you: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is, in fact, a perfect beach and summer read, but it is in no way cute in the fluffy way, light, or funny. Contrarily, it is thoughtful, beautiful, and important. Not only does Ockler craft a gorgeous setting in an Oregon seaside town, but she also carries a significant message that will resonate with her readers long after the last page is flipped. As my first go with Sarah Ockler’s books, I can happily say I’ll be coming back for more because of the way The Summer of Chasing Mermaids succeeded in impressing me.

Perhaps the most striking quality in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is the setting. Set in Atargatis Cove, an obscure seaside town in Oregon, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids sets a tone where it is a comfortable, tightly-knit community, and quaint. Ockler’s descriptions are vivid and lyrical, placing the reader right in the seaside town alongside the characters.

Since this story is told from a girl who loses her voice, readers get a lot of internal dialogue and detailed observations of her surroundings. This made the beginning a little slow to get into, since the imagery is heavy because of the way she does not partake in dialogue. However, Elyse’s voice really grew on me as she emotes and communicates through writing. Her words are poetic and are similar to music lyrics, which I really enjoyed. Her interactions with the other characters are unique and realistic, yet also astonishing because of the fact that she can’t speak verbally. The effort is strenuous, yet she is able to accomplish this- even to develop a romantic relationship with the most notoriously flirty boy in town who ends up assisting her in her personal growth.

My only drawbacks within this novel are Elyse’s girl friends that are supposed to be supporting her. The two girls are Vanessa and Kirby, both friendly to open their arms to Elyse when she first moves to Oregon from the Caribbean. I don’t feel that Vanessa and Kirby are entirely loyal and meaningful friends. Rather, Elyse found herself more with the help of the love interest and his younger brother. I would have been more satisfied if Vanessa and Kirby are not as integrated into Elyse’s story since they aren’t well-developed as positive figures in Elyse’s life.

Of course, there is the mermaid aspect in this story that is quite central to Elyse’s dark past. In Atargatis Cove, there is the old tale about the Atargatis mermaid, and while Elyse sees the mermaid out at sea during her hallucinations, readers don’t actually know if the mermaid is real – and I love that about the story. Ockler certainly adds a sprinkle of magical realism to the story, making The Summer of Chasing Mermaids all the more mystical.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a quiet, beautiful story that is certainly set in the summertime and at the beach, but in no way one to be taken lightly and to forget in a week’s time. Ockler’s skill in creating an intelligent girl with no voice speaks volumes with how she eventually grows by surrounding herself with the right people and braving her past. I loved my first book by Sarah Ockler, and I highly recommend this book to readers who are patient, enjoy books set in seaside towns, and are in for a story about growth, love, and mermaids.


6 thoughts on “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler”

  1. Ahh, you know just how much I’m craving that quintessential summer read, and this book seems PERFECT. I love how it’s a beach read but also has a lot of depth- that’s just not something you see often.

    The gorgeous descriptions have me really excited!! We may or may not be going to Oregon this summer, so I’d love to read some more about the state, and really be able to feel what it’s like to be there, so yay for the awesome descriptions. The main character also sounds fantastic. I’ve never read a story from the perspective of someone who can’t speak, so I have to say, I’m intrigued. I definitely want to see how she’s able to communicate with others. Boo to these “supporting” friends, though.

    I’m honestly really excited for this novel now, Jen!! I’m not really patient (ahaha) but I think I’ll appreciate the beautiful imagery and the touch of magical realism (which I LOVEEEE). Amazingly gorgeous review, Jen. <33


    1. Aneeqah, I’m SO excited for you to pick it up! Reading from a silent main character’s POV sure is interesting. But seriously, the writing is GORGEOUS. And you definitely should freshen up on the Oregon scenery. 😉


  2. I’m glad to see that you liked this one! I have it for review for a book tour that I’m apart of, so I have to start reading it really soon. I’m hoping I love it just as much as you, as this is my first Sarah Ockler book! I’ve been craving contemporaries lately though, so hopefully this fulfills my craving. 🙂
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


  3. I looooooooooooooooooved this book. Like, crazy head-over-heels loved it. I read it twice and I want to read it again because it’s just that good. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jen! I adore your review because it captures everything I enjoyed about this from the romance to the personal growth to the female friendships…everything! Ahh, I’m such a fangirl over this one. 😉 Gorgeous review, dear! 🙂


  4. I NEED TO READ THIS JEN! I love Sarah Ockler something fierce:) I love that there’s a little magical realism sprinkled into this story with the mermaid aspect. Normally not having all the answers drives me crazy, but I think it will definitely work in the context of this story! Fantastic review:)


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