Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Published: 1st March 2012
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Source: eArc from Netgalley and publisher
It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with Pilot, the lifeguard with shamanic skills. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts. - From GoodreadsI had absolutely no idea what this book was about when I started reading. I had skimmed the blurb, but honestly it was the cover that hooked me and the fact that I think the guy on the front looks like Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) from One Tree Hill. It looked to me like it would be an easy going summer read but I found it to be quite different. I wanted to like this book so much, and I did to start with, but by the end of the book I was glad it was over.
Sirena's parents are getting divorced in Texas and to save her from dealing with the mess of this they decide to send her to spend the summer with her aunt in Rhode Island. Sirena uses this chance to spend time on the beach where she meets the Adonis lifeguard, Pilot. Confiding in her new friend and mentor Antonio, the 80 year old painter she spends her days painting with, Sirena discusses her home life and her obsession with Pilot. After an accident on the beach, we begin to see that there may be more going on with Pilot than we were first led to believe.
I actually liked Sirena at the start of the book. Her whole world as she knew it is beginning to fall apart, and she spends the beginning of the book being quite dark and moody. Then one day on the beach she meets the Lifeguard and everything about her I related to and liked disappeared. Suddenly she could think of nothing but him she stopped being so dark and twisty and started obsessing over Pilot all the time. I would not have too much of a problem with this, but I feel we never really get to know Pilot past how he looks and that left me feeling very detached from him as a character.
In terms of their relationship, I wanted there to be much more between the two of them since Sirena was so obsessed. I was waiting for the relationship to take off, and for a while it felt like it was building up to something good, and then.... it fizzled out!! If the relationship could have been pushed a little further, even if they had spent more time together and we had a deeper insight into what it was about Pilot (apart from his looks) that made him so amazing, then I probably would have understood a bit more and felt a bit happier.
My other problem was that I felt that the book did not know what it wanted to be. It started like most other contemporary romance / summer reads, however every so often some paranormal element would be introduced. The ghosts, magic healing or vengeful stingray all seemed like they were going to be explained, or even visited again later in the book, but then it would be dropped or have no explanation by then end of the book. So am I honestly to believe that there are people just wandering about on the beach that can magically heal people and this is not a magical power?
I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it had chosen a genre and stuck with it all the way! There were some great parts to this book, and as I said I loved the main character at the beginning and I thought some of the secondary characters were great. Unfortunately for me this book felt like it had a split personality disorder and it left me feeling frustrated that it did not quite deliver as a contemporary romance or a paranormal romance. It was certainly an unusual read and would be perfect for someone who may feel like they are stuck in a genre rut and need to read something completely different.