Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

author’s website: website / blog
release date: July 13, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
(ok for younger teens too)
genre: Contemporary Paranormal
length: 352 pages
publisher: EgmontUSA
overall rating: 5 of 5 stars

*the inside flap*
Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.
But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.
Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it?

*my thoughts*
I have heard about this book for quite awhile, but never really thought twice about it until I noticed it at the library last week. I have loved mermaid stories since I was a little girl, but never really read about sirens (other than during the mandatory mythology lessons). And, truthfully, the cover of this book drew me in more than anything.

Vanessa and Justine Sands are sisters with the kind of friendship that I had always hoped to have growing up. They are close in age, get along well, and spend their summers in Winter Harbor, Maine as half of a foursome that has been fabulous for years. (The other half of the foursome is made up of Caleb – Justine’s summer boyfriend - and Simon Carmichael from next door.) The book starts off on the first day of a new summer season, and the foursome is cliff diving – well, three of the four – since, Vanessa is afraid of everything and refuses to jump. Things seem to be going splendidly until dinnertime, when a fight breaks out in the Sands family, and Justine storms off angry at her parents, and at Vanessa. Abruptly, you are taken back to Boston where Vanessa is trying to deal with the proceedings of her sister’s funeral. At this point of the story, it started to become obvious that Vanessa didn’t really know her sister, and that bothers her greatly. It also leads her back to Winter Harbor, by herself, to spend the rest of the summer in search of herself and in search of answers about Justine.

The story of Vanessa’s summer is really a combination of a “coming of age” story and a fantasy tale. Obviously there is a siren ingredient to the story (thus the title), but there is also the story of Vanessa’s struggle to understand herself, and to understand the sister that she thought she knew. I was drawn into this story from nearly the first page, and didn’t want to put it down, even after it was finished. At the same time, I thought the ending was absolutely perfect. It provided wonderful closure, but with a hint at what may happen in the future.

*short and snappy*
writing
: Rayburn brings Vanessa’s story to life by taking you through the summer from Vanessa’s perspective. The writing flows in a way that is easy to read... I was drawn in, and couldn’t read it fast enough!
plot: The combination of mystery, romance, and the coming of age summer vacation story are woven together beautifully. The paranormal element was almost secondary, even though it played a crucial role.
characters: I liked that the characters had depth that was revealed slowly throughout the novel as Vanessa figured out different aspects of each character.
judging by the cover: I was intrigued by the cover, but I think I may actually like the new cover even better. It will be on the paperback (releasing in May) and is different so that it will blend better with the cover for the sequel (releasing in July). Tricia wrote about it on her blog (here)
miscellaneous: There is a book trailer for Siren here
* The next book in the series – Undercurrent – comes out July 12, 2011!

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