Exciting News for Fans in the UK & Australia!

Guys! I’m thrilled to announce that two of my YA novels, Bittersweet and The Book of Broken Hearts, are now available in eBook format — for the very first time — in the UK, Australia, and lots of other places through Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo!

So many people have emailed me about this over the years, and I’m over the moon that it’s finally official. #scandal and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids will follow in mid-April.

New Covers

Even more exciting? The books have brand new, special edition covers, and I’ve been dying to show them off. What do you think?

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

I’m pretty much in love with them, truth be told. 🙂

Where to Buy

* Amazon US links are only available to customers who are located outside North America but who purchase books through the Amazon US site.

Spread the Word

Since this is the first time the eBooks will be available in the UK and Australia (and many other countries), it’s almost like a new release! I would be so grateful if you’d help spread the word, especially if you’ve got any YA-book-lovin’ friends across the pond(s). Just hit the share button below if you’re in a sharing mood… easy peasy!

And if you’re a YA book blogger or booktuber in the UK or Australia, and you’d like to review either or both titles, please let me know!

So that’s the big news! Thank you guys so much for your ongoing enthusiasm and support, no matter where in the world you’re reading. It means so much to me, and I’m so happy that I can finally share these eBooks with you! ❤


The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is Here!

I’m so excited to welcome my latest YA novel, THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS, to the shelves today!

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, photo by Jessi KirbyIndieBoundThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at AmazonThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at B&NThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at iBooksThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids on KoboThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at Book DepositoryAdd The Summer of Chasing Mermaids to your Goodreads list!

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.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, art by Andi at AndiABCsBut 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…

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, art by Zoey Talbon at Uncreatively Zoey

…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.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, art & photo by Sara at Novel Novice

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!

IndieBoundThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at AmazonThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at B&NThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at iBooksThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids on KoboThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids at Book DepositoryAdd The Summer of Chasing Mermaids to your Goodreads list!

Photo credits:

  1. Photo by Jessi Kirby
  2. Artwork by Andi at Andi’s ABCs
  3. Artwork by Zoey at Uncreatively Zoey
  4. Photo and artwork by Sara at Novel Novice

The Book of Broken Hearts is Out… And It Needs Your Help!

The Book of Broken Hearts

The Book of Broken Hearts needs your help!

The Book of Broken Hearts officially hit the shelves on May 21st, which is, like, YAY! But it hasn’t hit all the shelves. Which is, you know, BOO! I’ve been debating whether to blog about this situation, hoping against all odds that it would resolve itself. But it hasn’t, and now that I’ve officially heard from readers who’ve had trouble finding the book at Barnes & Noble, I wanted to let you know what’s going on.

The Situation (super short version of a boring tale of corporate woe)

Just because a book is published doesn’t guarantee it a spot on the store shelves (even if the stores have successfully sold an author’s previous books). B&N, like all brick and mortar book stores, decides which books to shelve in its physical locations–sometimes nationally, sometimes on a store by store basis–and they order those titles directly from publishers. Additionally, publishers pay for premium placement of books–those “Summer Reads” end cap displays and colorfully arranged stacks on the tables are all sponsored by publishers (it’s called “co-op”), and the rates and terms are negotiated, like so many things in the book biz.

My publisher for The Book of Broken Hearts is currently in negotiations with B&N, the nature of which I don’t fully understand–it’s too crazy-making to follow, especially when I need to be working on the next book! But the bottom line and bummer of it all is that they’ve yet to reach an agreement. As a result, B&N has cut orders drastically on many of my publisher’s titles, including mine. So, unlike all of my previous novels… super sadface… The Book of Broken Hearts won’t be available in many B&N stores.

It’s a difficult situation. As an author who’s still trying to connect with new fans, I rely on the only remaining national chain bookstore to help grab the attention of random browsers, people who’d only discover The Book of Broken Hearts by seeing it on the shelves, picking it up, and giving it a chance. Now, I’ve lost the opportunity to connect with some of those new readers. And longtime fans who walk into a Barnes & Noble specifically looking for a copy might be disappointed to learn it’s not in stock.

Many of my author friends are in the same boat, and we’re all just trying to support one another and keep our chins up. It’s one of those tough breaks in a business that’s full of constant ups and downs, good news and bad. It’s one of the many reasons writers consume so much chocolate and wine. 🙂

But before you join me in the group ugly cry, wait! All is not lost, because…

Dear Readers and Friends, You Can Help!

If you’re interested in reading The Book of Broken Hearts (or any S&S title affected by this situation), there are still lots of ways you can get your hands on a copy and help support your favorite authors:

  1. Shop indie. Independent bookstores rock. They’re super supportive of authors, passionate about the books they carry, boosters of the local economy, curators of local literary events, and they’re eager to help you find exactly what you’re looking for (and maybe some stuff you didn’t even know you were looking for). My favorite indie is Tattered Cover here in Denver, but you can find a store close to you on IndieBound.
  2. If B&N is your store for all things bookish, and your local B&N doesn’t have The Book of Broken Hearts on the shelves, ask them to order a copy for you.
  3. Order a copy on Amazon.com or BN.com (the online site should always have copies available, regardless of in-store stock)
  4. Purchase it online as an ebook

If you’ve already read the book (thank you!), and you want to be especially awesome and earn lots of virtual hugs and chocolate-covered gratitude, there are a few other ways to show the love:

  1. Post a review on Amazon.com or BN.com. This is hugely helpful. Like spotting new books on the store shelves, honest reader reviews help other readers with similar tastes discover new books. Plus, as a book earns more reviews online, it tends to show up more often in search results and in “readers who liked this book also liked that one” promos.
  2. Ask your library to order a copy for their collection. Libraries are another local resource for readers and authors alike, and they’re a great way to help readers discover new books.
  3. Tell a friend. If you’ve got a reader friend who might enjoy the book, tell her about it! Better yet, get her a copy as a gift! (wink wink)
  4. Encourage reader friends to lather, rinse, repeat on some or all of the above. 🙂

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

You guys have already been so supportive and amazing–from those first joyful days of seeing Twenty Boy Summer on the shelves in 2009, to every new book release since. I mean it when I say that I wouldn’t survive this career if not for you. Seriously. Without readers and fans, I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be a person who hangs out in PJs all day entertaining the voices in her head, wondering who ate all the chocolate. So to all of you, whether you’re longtime fans or family members who are forced to be fans, whether you’re a teen or just a young adult at heart, whether you’re a librarian or a blogger or a bookseller or a publisher or a fellow author, THANK YOU. For reading, for sharing your love of books with the world. For being such awesome and supportive bookworms. For giving me the honor of telling stories for a living, no matter how hard the business side of it gets. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Hugs. Chocolate. More hugs.


Prom Dates to Die For: An Interview with Jenny Peterson

Prom Dates to Die ForToday I’m thrilled to welcome my YA writing friend and fellow Lighthouse Writers workshopper Jenny Peterson. Jenny’s short story, “Tonight, You’re Mine,” has just released in PROM DATES TO DIE FOR, a new paranormal anthology from Buzz Books, and she’s here to dish about the new collection, writing for teens, and of course… prom!

Describe your real-life prom experience (or lack thereof) with seven random words:

Minivan. Masquerade. Late-night. Dare. Skinny dipping. Secret kissing. Friends.

What inspired you and your fellow YA authors Lena Brown, Heather Dearly, Kelly Para, and Aaron Smith to write this particular collection of stories?

Prom is already kind of abnormal to begin with, right? Teenage guys trying to pretend they’re comfortable in a suit, dates picking through fancy dinners when all they really want is Taco Bell. (Actually, all I ever really want is Taco Bell.) It’s a whole bunch of people trying to create this fantasy that doesn’t really exist. So we went ahead and *really* added that fantasy.

For my story, I played around with the idea of a perfect prom. My main character, Rachel, has decided that prom night is the ideal time to also lose her virginity. She’s the type that would have charts and graphs to back this up. Even when some seriously weird stuff starts going down, she charges ahead with her plans. It’s not until she comes face to kind-of face with a hideous pink slug-like thing does she realize prom night isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Apparently, “adult proms” are a thing now. Seriously. Self-proclaimed grown-ups get all dressed up, rent a limo with their friends, go to a dance with a horrible band, and then get totally wasted and bust out the air guitar and I love you mans and someone always ends up crying in the bathroom, all in some vain attempt to redefine this teen rite-of-passage-gone-awry. Any thoughts on this trend? Healing group therapy for post-prom traumatic stress, or just another case of grown-ups behaving badly?

Okay, so my friends once threw me a “half-birthday”–as in we celebrated like I was turning 13, not 26. We played laser tag and made mix tapes of early ’90s music. It was awesome. (It was also a lesson in stamina. Pre-pubescent boys have a hell of a lot more energy in the laser tag arena than a bunch of adults.)

So adult prom? IN. As long as the updo-sporting adults aren’t, like, flipping tables at Olive Garden, I think it’s a fun way to embrace your inner teen.

Um… will you go to Adult Prom with me?

You bring the Aqua Net, I’ll bring the Zima.

You’re working on at least two other full-length YA projects. What drew you to YA in the first place? Do you write it to cope with the tragic emotional aftermath of your own teen years? Or is it just me? Can I get an amen? Or a drink? Or an adult prom date? Anyone?

I’m mixing you a gin and tonic right now.

Like most annoyingly pretentious teens, I pulled away from YA when I was actually, you know, the demographic. I devoured the classics, but my favorites (like “Pride & Prejudice”) all had young(ish) adult protagonists. Then I discovered Harry Potter at age 17, and it was all over. I don’t think anyone can meet Ron Weasley and *not* want to spend the rest of their life with him. (Ron+Hermione 4eva)

I turned back to YA and realized it was just perfect for me. Being a teen or young adult is all about first experiences–first kiss, first heartbreak, first “real” decisions without Mom and Dad. You’re trying out new skins and discovering who you want to be. It’s such a fascinating, poignant, fun time of life to write about.

If you could give one piece of advice to your teen self on the night before prom, what would it be?

Jennifer Renee Coon, do NOT spend the entire dance hawk-eyeing your oh-so-recent ex-boyfriend. And certainly do NOT position yourself near him while laughing loudly and pretending you’re having the Best. Night. Ever. You’ll have an awesome time without a Capital D Date. I promise.

For you, what is the most challenging thing about writing fiction for teens? I mean, aside from the obvious answer of being forced to relive your own horrific high school memories in the never-ending search for authentic ideas.

This isn’t so much a challenge, but something I’m always aware of: I never want to sound like a Very Old Person lecturing the Young Whippersnapper. I often find that people who don’t read YA automatically think it is simplistic and After-School Special-y, which is totally not true. I strive in my writing to never talk down to my audience.

What’s the best part?

Everything! I get this amazing excuse to read awesome YA every day (for “research”), and I get to jump into all these different worlds where there is limitless potential.

You’re the head of the prom committee, and this time, you get to plan the special super-awesome Jenny Prom with no limitations. What’s your prom theme, song, and color? Are there any other special details or plans we should know about for this amazing event? What are you wearing? And most importantly, what’s in the punch?

If this was Teen Jenny Prom, I’d probably enforce a strict “X-Files” theme and wear a pantsuit with sensible heels (to run away from the aliens, obvs. … and run into Mulder’s arms for a long-awaited make-out session). Thankfully, I’m a bit better at masking my extreme dorkiness today (says the girl who recently went to a Joss Whedon trivia event).

Okay, so Super Awesome Jenny Prom would take place on a boat, because why not. Not a cruise, those are lame. Like a European Lesser Prince’s yacht. (European Lesser Prince included.) The prom theme would be Yachts Are Awesome, Yo. The music would be yacht rock, so brush up on your Kenny Loggins and Toto. The colors would be blue (for the ocean!) and hints of gold to keep the European Lesser Princes in attendance comfortable. Most importantly, there is a lot (a LOT) of champagne in the punch.

Special details? Bring a swimsuit and Italian phrasebook. And try not to be the popular girl. She’ll probably be the first to fall overboard and get eaten by sharks.

Um… will you go to Jenny Prom with me?

I’m swinging the boat around and will pick you up in an hour.

Congratulations on the new release, Jenny! And thanks for making me feel marginally better about myself by accepting both of my prom date invitations. 🙂

Readers, want to learn more? Check PROM DATES TO DIE FOR or visit Jenny on the web.

Big Book News: Cover, Title, & Release Date Makeover

I have some exciting news to share on the new book front!

Bittersweet, by Sarah OcklerThe book formerly known as The Language of Impossible Dreams is now called… Bittersweet! And it’s rocking a brand new cover, too. See all that sweet and wintry goodness? Yumz!

It’s always tough to title a book. I mean, how do you sum up an entire story in just a few words? Or one word, for that matter. It’s HARD. And you don’t always get it right the first time around. In fact, sometimes it takes a few times around to really find the right one. Now, we’ve finally done it! The new title and image perfectly captures Hudson’s challenges throughout the story as she struggles with lots of conflicting emotions and opportunities. Follow her own Olympic-sized dreams, or sacrifice her goals to help out her family? Um, not to mention all the confusing hockey boy love (swoon!) and the ups and downs of friendship (drama!) and school and cupcakes (yum!) and lake effect blizzards and an adorable little brother and everything else that comes her way this winter.

New title, new cover. I couldn’t be more excited! Except…

Okay, I actually could be more excited about one more bit of news… ready?

Bittersweet will hit the shelves much sooner than anticipated! On January 3, to be exact. This coming January 3. Perfect timing, because everyone knows that curling up under a blanket with a book (especially a winter romance!) and a mug of hot chocolate is pretty much the best way to spend the snowy season. And now you know how to use those holiday bookstore giftcards from Nana and Papa! 😉

I hope you love the new cover and title, and I hope you’ll check out the new book soon! For now, you can pre-order it on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads list. Yay!