Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn
Author: Tricia Rayburn
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub. Date: 7.13.10
Keywords: Supernatural, Siren, Love, Friendship, Sisters, Murder, Myths
Plot (from arc):
Something deadly waits beneath the saves off Winter Harbor, and this summer, no one is safe.
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 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 ear to ear.
Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb, but what Vanessa discovers might mean the end of her summer romance and life as she knows it.
I consider myself lucky when I say that I was able to read SIREN months before its release. In fact, I picked it up based solely the title and cover art, before I'd ever even heard of it. I had no idea what to expect, but soon found myself completely immersed in the mystery and romance of Rayburn's phenomenal YA debut.
It isn’t hard to guess what the novel is about, given the description and title, but that doesn’t stop Tricia Rayburn from writing a compelling mystery with a great love story. Sure, the reader knows that there will be mysterious deaths and Vanessa's relationship with a childhood friend will most likely grow into something more, but the lack of mystery is made up for by the superb writing and characters.
When I hear "siren," the first thought that pops into my head is mermaids. Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid to be precise. Sirens are not mermaids, which Rayburn makes abundantly clear. There are very few YA novels that involve honest-to-goodness, homocidal sirens, but, if they're anything like Rayburn's, I wish there were more. I'm hopeful that Rayburn will further explore siren lore in her future novels; in SIREN the history and motivations were mentioned, but I would love to see further exploration.
Despite the obvious spoilers about the mysterious deaths, Rayburn still keeps readers on their toes. While it is quite obvious who is killing these men, the why isn’t so clear. In addition, Vanessa’s sister dies under mysterious circumstances, adding an unexpected twist. Justine’s death can't be pinned on the sirens as easily as male deaths.
Apart from the supernatural plot line, SIREN is also a great coming-of-age story. Vanessa grows significantly throughout the novel as she discovers more about herself, Justine, and the history of Winter Harbor. I found her relationship with her late sister to be particularly interesting; there was so much more to the sisters’ story than I had anticipated.
And then there’s Simon. SIREN's description boasts a burgeoning relationship between Vanessa and Simon, which, of course, caught my eye. I definitely like romances where "friends" find themselves becoming "more than friends" and Rayburn writes the evolution wonderfully. There's just the right amount of tension and denial and confusion.