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Book Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

"The Summer of Chasing Mermaids" by Sarah Ockler is my first experience to Ockler's writing. This story is loosely based off of "The Little Mermaid." Ockler took this adaption (it isn't really a retelling) and made a real and relatable story to it. Elyse is a beautiful young girl that has lost her drive for life. She used to be a very talented singer and was planning on becoming famous with her twin sister Natalie. However all of her dreams went up in smoke. Elyse is now afraid to go into the ocean and she no longer has her voice after a terrible accident. Losing her voice ment that Elyse lost her future career and passion.

I will be honest, I picked up the book because I thought it was going to be about mermaids. That is what the title implied. When you read the synopsis and then the book you find out that the story is supposed to be an adaption of "The Little Mermaid," which is one of the biggest mermaid connections. Another one is the fact that Elyse's grandmother sends her fairytale books about mermaids.

I think the biggest thing that I was disappointed in with this book has how Sebastian is portrayed. He is a six-year-old boy who is interested in mermaids. It seems like the book tries to make this way more than it is. Instead of just being a six-year-old boy who is interested in mermaids, he is made out to be so LGBT situation. Just because the little boy is fascinated in mermaids doesn't mean that he is "gay". Can't he just be a little boy who finds an interest in mermaids? Even Elyse starts calling Sebastian "her mermaid queen." What is the need for this? Mermaids aren't only girls, there are merman too and kings not just queens. No, this isn't taken into an account. I think it is wrong. That doesn't portray good morale at all. A six-year-old is just learning who he is, I don't think one interest defines the rest of his life.

The writing just didn't seem to do it in this story. I feel like to much of the story was trying to include diversity and LGTB in it that the rest of the story was lost. I think it is great to have diverse books but when you are trying too hard to be a diverse novel is when there is a problem. It shouldn't seemed forced or taken away from the story and I felt like that is what happened here. I think the writing could improve a lot for Ockler. I can definitely say that I didn't fall in love with this story.


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