Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: ARC from BEA 2010
My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is, until Justine goes cliff-diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.
Though her parents hope that they’ll be able to find closure back in Boston, Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. After discovering that Justine was keeping a lot of secrets, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor, hoping that Justine’s boyfriend might know more. But Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death.
Soon, it’s not just Vanessa who’s afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes host to a string of fatal, water-related accidents in which all the victims are found, horrifically, grinning from ear to ear.
Vanessa turns to Caleb’s brother, Simon, for help, and begins to find herself drawn to him. As the pair try to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life forever.
Very the very start, this book captivated me. I think it was the setting - small, rural town on the coast of Maine. I live in New England but don't get to Maine (or the coast) very often but even without prior knowledge, the first chapter or so instilled a strong sense of place in my head. This strong connection with the setting, and then with the characters really made this a great read for me.
Because of this deep connection I felt right away, the death of Justine seemed a little abrupt and harsh. I knew it was coming - the synopsis clearly states that Justine dies - but, for me, it was still a little bit of a shock. It didn't really take anything away from the story for me however.
The story was unique. I'm a big fan of paranormal fiction, especially when a not so common paranormal is involved. Not gonna say too much because I don't want to ruin it but the action / out of control aspect to the story really appealed to me.
One thing I was a little confused by were the family connections. I'm pretty sure the author laid it all out for us so I'm thinking it's just me :) In any case, there is a TON more of this story to be told!
Oh, and the ending! So ominous! Even after I learned the answers I felt there were too many secrets. So! How excited am I that Siren will have a sequel? Supper duper exited :) No info on it yet but I'm hoping we'll get more of Vanessa's back story - more Winter Harbor, more Carmichael brothers...ok...just more of everything :)