Blog Book Tour | “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” by Sarah Ockler

Posted Wednesday, 5 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be on “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” blog tour originally in mid-Spring before the tour was put on hold and finally re-organised in early Summer. Diverse Book Tours was undergoing a re-organisation and re-grouping of their website during the downtime and I was quite thankful I was still able to remain on the tour. I was sent a complimentary hardback copy of “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” direct from Diverse Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Why Jorie tries to remember to read outside her comfort zones:

Young Adult fiction is a new passion of mine, ever since I took up sails into these engaging worlds where writers would enchant me with their fantasy realms (such as Jackie Gamber!) or retreat inside a coming-of age tale where the main protagonist is one where you cannot put the book down because of how strong they are lighting the story for your heart. The latter of course is a memory of mine from reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate most especially but there are others listed on my recent re-attachment to YA fiction on my Children’s Lit archive which immediately bring me back to those characters and stories as lightning quick as the two mentioned here.

I cannot say I am one who is caught up in the tides of most contemporary YA titles which seem to go viral as soon as they’re published (i.e. I have yet to read a John Green, Stephanie Meyer, or Suzanne Collins novel) but I do have a healthy thirst for stories by modern writers who are reminiscent of the authors I loved whilst I was growing up. There is a sampling of those authors on my Children’s Lit archive as well, as it’s becoming a way for me to journal my past endeavours in literature for children as much as serve as a blueprint for what I am reading right now. The companion sections for Children’s Lit & Young Adult Lit are in my Story Vault.

When I was approached about this particular novel there was something about it’s plot that gave me the impression I might enjoy discovering it’s story. It wasn’t until closer to when the book arrived by post that I started to learn a bit more about the novel’s content and how this YA novel in particular is setting a few new standards for what #YALit can encompass. For example, the term ‘sex-positive’ was a new for me as I learnt about it’s connection to the context of this story via another book bloggers rather open and honest review of how the story tackles strong topics for young adults.

I am coming into YA from a previous generation of where YA and Juvenile Fiction could convey strong themes and choices of lifestyles but held back a bit from what the reader would breathe in through the narrative. To me, this new transition in YA might stem out of the blog posts I’ve read about “Upper YA” verse traditional YA; where the stories are geared more towards teenagers who are on the brink of graduating high school and are about to emerge either into the workforce or the college selection process! In this, I can find a strong advocacy for novels that tip a hat towards communication and open dialogue about what is important to a 16-18 year old growing up in today’s world.

As a Prospective Adoptive Mum, I knew literature has changed quite a heap since I was growing up in the 80s/90s, as we didn’t quite have the same ‘electrifying’ inertia surrounding our books as teens have today; in part, I think because there wasn’t as much marketing and promotion in the book industry for Children’s Lit, esp Young Adult titles in particular. There has been a tidalwave of new interest for marketing and publicity for children and teens, and this is something I celebrate because I was a fierce reader who would have thrived on the live events and the author signings had they been as well promoted then as they are now. Author events when I grew up were generally for either a local author of a genre I was not old enough to read or someone quite obscure in academia; either way, the offerings were sparse!

I decided to remain on top of the new selections – even if it took me awhile to find my new ‘favourite’ authors and the titles I simply found ‘unputdownable’ and worthy of being devoured in one or two sittings – mostly as my tastes in stories do differ from the majority; but having said that, I wanted to stay open-minded about certain authors who had a style of telling a story that might resonate with me, whilst allowing me to take a chance on a book such as The Summer of Chasing Mermaids which would reunite me with other adults who adore YA!

Reading outside our comfort zones allows literature to stay fresh and vibrant; it’s a bit like how I recently blogged I am shifting out of France and dropping in on Italy! IF we don’t allow ourselves the grace to grow and to continue to shift forward with new contemporary authors who are telling new stories with a new vein of thought stitched into them which relate to our modern world, we fall behind. As a future Mum I’d like to stay connected and remain mindful of what is curiously connecting to today’s youth whilst accepting that even if your a few generations removed, you can find a balance between your own childhood and your children’s.

Blog Book Tour | “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids
by Sarah Ockler
Source: Publicist via Diverse Book Tours

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…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Magical Realism, Realistic Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Simon Pulse

on 2nd June, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 416


Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Simon Pulse (@simonteen),
Available Formats: Hardback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheSummerOfChasingMermaids

About Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids.

Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. Her short work has appeared in the anthologies Dear Teen Me and Defy the Dark.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in the Pacific northwest, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. Fans can find her via the links below to connect with her directly!

My Review of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids:

A haunting beginning, truly as a young girl is on the fringes of losing her life, yet her repose and confidence in giving us even a glimmer of who she was in life is frighteningly real; whilst incredibly calm! Entering into her life at this juxtaposition marker, where her own introspection is cross-secting with the reader’s curiosity about who she is and how she’s reached this fateful point in her life, is inspiring because it lends a different view on life and death. Lending a small insight into how much time we have whilst we’re losing our battle to survive and how those moments can be used to question our humanity.

Seeing Elyse interacting with her best friend Kirby, I started to pick up on the little bits of revelation that were there all along yet I missed seeing them! I was so caught up in the lyrical poetic style of Ockler (as she has such a rhythm to her paragraphs, they remind me of lyrical poems) I wasn’t realising the italics were not only referring to Elyse’s internal thoughts but her spoken words if she had had the ability to speak! This is my second novel where a writer has taken on an issue in communication by spoken words and taken the reader on a journey through their world as they speak in a way different from us. (the first novel is Lila’s Choice, of which will be reviewed this Autumn) Her words come out of her through ink, the kind of ink that leaves stains on your fingers and whose writings were on surfaces (of a boat) belonging to another.

Elyse has a lot stored inside her bubbling towards the surface without a way to vent them outward; she uses her words on the inside of a boat reminiscent of the boat from her childhood as a way to find buoyancy out of chaos. Her Summer plans to spend them with her American Aunt Lemon (a family name and an adopted Aunt) were shifting quite steadily towards ruin as the local Mayor had such gold digging ways inside his heart as to upturnt this small coastal community into a crescendo of ruin. The Mayor could only imagine how his small community would be rectified against the economic calamities effecting it rather than the long-term effects of how by selling out his towne he was selling a piece of their soul.

Ockler has a beautiful way of conveying metaphoric up-tails of internal thoughts on behalf of Elyse to be keenly tied into the sea; in this, I started to see how the churning of the fairy-tale retelling was taking shape, as mermaids started to jump out at you in different intervals of entrance. The back-story was lore based on local myth for a mermaid known to be inside the Cove, but Ockler didn’t relay merely on legend, she breathed new life into this fable by defining the fate of a mermaid against the lost will of a young woman who cannot see the beauty of life without a voice.

Aunt Lemon has a sweetness about her, a kind heart reaching out to the turmoil of Elyse’s conscience, seeking a way to let the girl overcome her past and the tragedies that unfolded. Being around Aunt Lemon I could well envision why Elyse felt so very much at home in her company; she was weathered and wise, giving love as freely as giving a piece of her heart to calm a worried soul. She listened to Elyse with her heart, sensing what did not need to be spoken and understanding more than Elyse could hope to say.

In Christian, Elyse found another seeker on a journey towards understanding what kept his spirit free and his passion for the sea a constant in his life. Both of them longed to be a part of the sea full-time, as if they were bourne of the ocean and needed sustenance from it in order to survive. They understood each other on a different parallel of knowing than their friends; they simply ‘got each other’ at hallo due to this strong connection to the lulling waves, the arch of the sun reflecting off the surface, and a tangible bliss in manning a boat whilst travelling far from shore. They were united before they met, a yearning of an unexpected love perhaps blooming before their two souls even set sail to collide into each other.

On the equality and diversity:

I appreciated seeing Ockler approach Elyse from the point-of-view of a muted person who was not bourne mute but rather suffered a trauma where their vocality was taken from them and medical science could not restore the chords. This is a unique approach as much highlighting Deaf Culture and deafness such as Laura Brown has done in Lila’s Choice.

I have been keenly interested in knowing more about Trinidad & Tobago since I was a small child; mostly because I grew up on the East Coast of the states, and islanders are frequent visitors from all the lovely nations and countries in the Atlantic. Finding a lead character from there and a secondary character sharing the same ethnic heritage was quite a blessing! I loved how Ockler allowed their ethnicity to take a backseat to who they are as a person; not overly identifying their differences but not under empathising them either. She created a balance you can nod in acknowledgement for someone who understands how to write diversity into a novel as if you were meeting these characters up close and in person.

A notation on the YA styling of Sarah Ockler:

Ms Ockler ignites realistic situations into her characters’ lives by giving them something hearty to chew on and overcome in the midst of an teenage coming-of age story. Her characters speak with stark honesty and reveal their insecurities at the same time, it is like peeling back the veil and stepping back into your own adolescence – either your own experiences or those of your peers. There are plenty of instances of where you can alight a composite of living reality to the lives within the novel, and to me that is a credit to Ockler’s vision for giving teens something to read they can personally relate too.

It’s how she bridged the gap between partially journalling Elyse’s thoughts by the notes she had to create to ‘talk’ and the flow of narrative against the spoken dialogue of everyone around her. It is quite an impressive feat, because you become accustomed to her style quite early-on, thereby your able to soak inside her story’s heart and become enraptured by where it will take you. I like finding writers who mix things up a bit for the reader; giving them a new experience by how a novel is written and approached inasmuch as finding a novel outside a comfort zone an enjoyable read for what was left behind to be found. This is clearly a YA title I might not have picked up if I hadn’t felt encouraged by it’s plot, a consideration I wouldn’t have had without the tour alerting to me of it’s presence, and the writer I might not have found if the book hadn’t alighted in my hands.

She wrote openly about situations and circumstances that youth growing into adulthood face all the time; the choices they will make that may or may not affect their bodies and health, as much as the decisions that might define their paths. She keeps the dialogue honest, upfront, and approachable – a living narrative of our current times, and in that, it’s a contemporary classic.

Reading is a journey in of itself – if we remain open to it’s passageways of delightful discoveries, we give ourselves a joy that can remain tenfold blessed by the experiences we breathe into our imaginations. How thankful I am then, I took a chance and found a blissitude of poetic lyricism in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids!

Fly in the ointment:

There is only one wrinkle to the poetic style of Ockler, and an inclusion that is quite rampant throughout modern literature (irregardless of genre or age) and that would be the vulgarity. Right on page eight I was quite surprised to find what was greeting me – as although I have more tolerance for finding vulgarity in a novel (courtesy of being a 2nd Year Book Blogger), I do not outright accept each use of the words where another would have done just as nicely. In this particular case, I do believe an alternative would have sufficed.

Although I was brought up differently than the characters, the most alarmingly difference is tact and taste for language whilst conveying your thoughts openly and out loud. Using strong language was not a commonality in my family nor was it allowed for someone outside of adulthood. (by adulthood, at least not until your thirty, if you deem it necessary!) The characters in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids are eighteen (at least the leads are) and thereby, technically are adults, however, there is a thin line there where are they rebelling against their parent’s wisdom or were they not advised of better words to use to express themselves? To me this does prove an interesting thread of discussion and wonder if it was included in the Discussion Guide? How language and a temperament of our emotions can hinder our expanse into the world past school and family? Surely, I am not the only one voicing this concern? The teens in my own local area speak so frankly my face reddens because when I was their age and in high school, none of my peers and I could get away with that kind of reckless vulgarity or crude humour and innuendo!

Having said my piece, I would allow my own teenager to read this novel during their senior year of high school and/or if I felt it was warranted and they were emotionally ready to tackle the subject matters, I’d let them read it sooner but not younger than 14. As some fourteen-year-olds are reading college level and are ready to tackle adult topics sooner than their peers. I wouldn’t put a stipulation on reading it that we would discuss the novel afterwards, but I would encourage a conversation after the book was read if my teen was willing to have an honest talk after they read the story.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour is courtesy of: Diverse Book Tours

Diverse Book Tours Tour Host badge provided by Diverse Book Tours and used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBe sure to follow my Bookish Events for (2015)
to follow my bookish journey!
My first blog tour with DBT was The Savage Fortress! Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{ click through to follow the rest of the blog tour! }

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids blog tour by Diverse Book Tours.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I look forward to hearing your reactions if you’ve read this novel too

and/or if your curiosity had become piqued to read it after reading my own ruminations!

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids”, Author Biography, Author Photograph of Sarah Ockler, Book Synopsis, Blog Tour badge & Diverse Book Tours badge were provided by Diverse Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment banner created by Jorie in Canva. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read:

{share if inspired}

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 5 August, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Diverse Book Tours, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Mute | Medical Loss of Voice, Near-Death Experience, Oregon, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Preservation, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Twin Siblings, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, West Coast USA, Writing Style & Voice, Young Adult Fiction




All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back’. Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website. Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” by Sarah Ockler

  1. I am out of words! This review is excellent and I love how you gave a glimpse on Elyse’s feelings through this. I feel like this book is underrated and hope readers would pick it up.♥️

  2. Savanah | Off-Color Literature

    Wow! What an amazingly thorough review.

    I really love the deafness aspect! I don’t see nearly enough of that, (which could say just as much about me, as I’m obviously not making an effort to seek enough of it). I would love to read more like this.

    I see what you mean by the vulgarity and I respect your view on it, though you know from reading my blog that I take another :D I try not to give “bad” words more power over us. I have a ten-year-old son, for instance, and I know from hearing other children his age play outside that they curse, and A LOT. Ten and eleven! But my son generally chooses not to among his friends, and I think part of it may be because it has been demystified. I’ve always spoken the same in front of him as I would in front of people my own age (the exception being talk about sex), and when he asked why he shouldn’t say “bad” words I told him it wasn’t socially acceptable for someone his age. But that’s all. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the words, they’re just words. That is my personal take on it :)

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)