Book: Siren's Storm
Author: Lisa Papademetriou
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: July 12, 2011
Source: ARC received from Book It Forward ARC Tours
Summary: (from Goodreads) Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened — his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.
Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled — her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from — all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.
Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?
First impressions: I loved the setting - a ritzy summer home beach community on Long Island - and eased into this one with summer in mind. This would make a great beach read.
Lasting impressions: Not as memorable or exciting as I hoped it would be.
Conflicting impressions: There was a big info dump at the end that would have been easier to follow if we'd gotten glimpses of it as we went.
Overall impressions: Will and Gretchen live in a summer destination spot for rich Manhattanites. Will is a year-round resident whose dad operates a small produce farm and Gretchen is the daughter of a rock musician who lives next door during the summers. I was really expecting some kind of tension from the local-vs.-outsider setup, but instead they are best friends, and Gretchen is given a pass for being one of the non-locals. Their relationship seemed very bland to me, despite their long and complicated history.
Both are suffering somewhat. Last year, Will's brother was killed in an accident Will can't remember. Gretchen is sleepwalking, which has escalated quite dangerously. When exotic newcomer Asia arrives in town, she ends up sort of befriending both Will and Gretchen. Asia is standoffish, mysterious, and oddly powerful. Will and Gretchen both observe her doing strange things, and neither of them can quite figure her out.
It was at this point that I got a bit impatient with this book. It's a quick read, but parts of it really dragged because we know Asia has something to do with the strange events happening in town, and even suspect she has something to do with Gretchen's sleepwalking and Will's grief, but we don't get any kind of confirmation or resolution until the end of the book. I think that some of the hints may have been too obvious or that the action was too sparse. It just didn't build quite right for me.
I really enjoyed the characters, however, and the interesting take on sirens/mermaids. I found Asia to be incredibly cool once we finally got to know her. Adding her perspective to the narrative would have helped me understand more about her, and I don't think it would have taken anything away.
I also liked the ending, which ties together all of the events going on in the three characters' lives. There is a neat fight scene with some surprising effects, and overall I thought the tale was pretty enjoyable. I recommend this if you're looking for a quick mermaid tale to read under a lazy summer sky.
Rating: 3/5 stars