I’m so excited to welcome my latest YA novel, THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS, to the shelves today!
This marks my sixth novel, which in publishing years kind of makes me an old veteran. Almost six years ago to the date—June 1, 2009—my very first novel was published: Twenty Boy Summer. It really does seem like only yesterday…
*Cue the sappy music*
Okay, I’ll spare you the teary-eyed flashback scene. But in some ways, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids really does mark a return to the classic summer love style of my first book—something I’d been missing. Fans of Twenty Boy Summer will appreciate the coastal Pacific Ocean setting, the sea glass, snuggling up near a beach bonfire on those chilly summer nights, and a girl with so much passion inside her she might just burst. Like Anna in TBS, Elyse in TSOCM is struggling to find her footing after a tragedy that turned her life upside down.
But unlike Anna, Elyse isn’t keeping secrets… She literally can’t even speak.
About The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
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…
Writing Elyse’s story was both heartbreaking and hopeful, and one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career. I can’t wait for you to meet her and the other residents of Atargatis Cove, Oregon—like some of the best and most supportive friends a girl could ever ask for, an adorable little boy obsessed with mermaids, a practicing witch whose healing powers go well beyond her herbal remedies, and of course, a swoon-worthy sailor who may or may not have been loosely (mostly) (okay fine, totally) inspired by Dean Winchester…
I’m sorry. Who are you people? What were we talking about again?
Oh! Right. Mermaids. Ahem.
So, um… yes. If you’d you’d like to meet Elyse and her family, and all of the people she comes to know and love during her summer at the Cove, you should definitely check out the book. Because even more than a love story, even more than a beach read, even more than a fairy tale re-imagined, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is an empowering story about finding your voice, even when it feels like you’ve got nothing left to say, or no way to say it…
…and it’s about reclaiming the music of our hearts…
…and it’s about second chances—especially (and perhaps most importantly) the kinds we have to give ourselves.
What the Reviewers are Saying
“A sweet summer romance, Sarah Ockler’s newest book sings with mermaid lore and characters you wish you could spend your summer with. This look at finding your voice is the perfect poolside read.” —Justine Magazine
“Elyse’s journey and struggles to assimilate her disability—portrayed with compassion and insight—are compelling and original. A beach read with depth that will keep readers engaged.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Ockler dives beneath the surface in writing about her characters’ emotions and family relationships, and writes sensuously about love and desire. This is a good choice for older teens looking for a well-written romance.” —VOYA Magazine
“…another fantastic summer story by Twenty Boy Summer’s Sarah Ockler… Aside from having probably the best summer cover ever, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids will totally capture your summer spirit this June.” —Bustle
“Ockler’s poetic writing captivates from the outset (“My first breath outside my mother’s body was salt water; the Caribbean Sea lay claim to my soul the moment it took hers”), and Elyse’s backstory—including the mystery of exactly how she lost her voice—is inventive and well-drawn.” —Publishers Weekly
“Despite being unable to speak, Elyse’s lyrical and authentic voice shines through. Teens will relate to her struggle to find her place in a complicated world and applaud her efforts to fight back against the heartless powerbrokers threatening to destroy the Cove.” —School Library Journal
Thank You, Readers!
Finally, I just wanted to send a big ginormous THANK YOU to everyone who’s already read and loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and to everyone who’s emailed, blogged, Tumbld, Tweeted, fangirled, left reviews, and otherwise shouted it from the rooftops. Your support always means so much to me, and I’m honored to share these stories with you. No matter how many books I write, this part never gets any less exciting and humbling. I wouldn’t be here if not for you, dear readers. You guys rock.
Here’s to a summer of amazing adventures, on and off the page!
- Photo by Jessi Kirby
- Artwork by Andi at Andi’s ABCs
- Artwork by Zoey at Uncreatively Zoey
- Photo and artwork by Sara at Novel Novice
Congratulations Sarah! xoxoxo
Thank you so much, Stacie! It’s been so long – I hope you’re doing awesome! ❤
When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anwrse.
Yay! This sounds terrific. I’m just blown away that you’ve cranked out SIX great books in six years. Holy prolific writer, Batman! Are you in WA now?
I’m so excited to read this…. Congratulations, Sarah!
Thank you, Beth! I still can’t believe it sometimes. And yes, we moved here last summer after falling in love with it on a research trip for this book. 🙂
Can’t wait to read it! But why did you choose Trinidad and Tobago as your setting? Do you have a connection with the islands? 🙂
Hi Daniella! The inspiration for Elyse d’Abreau actually came from a YouTube video, of all places–and I didn’t really choose her. She chose me. 🙂
My story ideas usually come from several different inspirations crossing my path at the same time, and then mixing into a big day-dreamy soup pot, from which I eventually craft a novel. In this case, I knew that I wanted to write a summer story set on the Pacific Northwest coast featuring mermaid lore. I also wanted to explore the important issue of denial of voice–something so many girls and women face every day. But I didn’t have my characters yet, or the meat of my story! Enter YouTube.
One night, I was randomly clicking through YouTube and came across an accent tag meme. I’ve always been fascinated by regional accents, slang, and language development, so I got totally sucked in to watching this meme about how differently English-speaking people say the same words and phrases, all depending on their accents. I ended up in the Trini accent tag collection, and one of the videos featured two sisters from Trinidad and Tobago who’d also posted other videos of themselves singing. When I saw these girls singing together, it just hit me so hard: Hey! There she is! That’s my character, and she has a twin sister, and they’re singers who live in T&T! From there, my imagination took over, flooding my brain with questions: what’s her name? What is her family like? Where does she live? How did she grow up? What does she do for fun? Why is she in the United States this summer? How can I explore denial of voice issues through this character?
From there, I immediately dove into research mode, learning as much as I could about Trinidad and Tobago, the culture, the food, the music, the history, the people—it was such a rewarding process; I didn’t know much about the country at all when I started. So thanks in large part to random strangers on YouTube, Elyse was born, one of six sisters (like in The Little Mermaid), a girl who grew up singing with her twin, both of them en route to stardom. But then she loses her voice, and everything changes. She can’t sing. She can’t even speak, and never will again. So who does she become? What happens to her sister? What about the rest of her family back on the island? Where does she belong? Who is she, if not the girl from Tobago with the beautiful voice?
I wrote the book to answer those questions.
I’m from Brazil, and I’m totally in love for your books, but I don’t find here where I can buy this book. Do you know where I can do this?
Helpful blog post – I loved the facts , Does someone know where I would be able to get a sample IRS 943 copy to complete ?