My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has left me more than impressed. Ockler has written loss and the dealing with in a manner that's true. Elyse in the aftermath of everything having changed alongside are her moments with people, a family really, of her choosing.
In all these interactions is a sense of holding back, a feeling that all is not clear... to others, yes... but to Elyse as well. Some contrast is made between those relationships being built for us with each page versus her memories of what she'd known. Everything is different... but the question of 'why' is made less important in the face of her 'what now.'
And in that now is all emotion--- directed at whom and why, we slowly piece together but in the meantime, there are people and friends, none of them too perfect or imperfect. It's these secondary cast who add a little bit more (emotion and authenticity), with one's sweet yet true romance just beginning, and then with another's confident, loud, and knowing presence. The newness of these connections felt true. Especially, how not all encounters were happy ones; instead things ran the gamut of tentative, begrudged, frustrated, and even jealous. These three and their new friendship, or the making of one felt real. There too was the novelty of who Sebastian was, and how his choice spurred on her actions that allowed for even sweeter moments.
All that sweetness underscores that there's a lot of sad here for her and her personal changes; and the rest of them, and the changes they're faced (threatened?) with. Indeed that it isn't just about her that makes this book work. Christian and Noah and their fathers, Lemon and mentions of her roots, Vanessa and her confidence amd how that last mirrors memories of who Elyse was... all these threads woven together create a heart felt experience, for this was that --- and a quietly emotional one at that.
Thank you. BT!
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