Hardcover: 352 pages
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Source: Around The World Tours
Synopsis: 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.As the story is mysterious and secretive, Siren did take me a while to get into. It started slowly so I had to read a few chapters before Rayburn's story began to cast its hypnotic spell on me; but like the persisent waves of a shoreline, it kept drawing my attention until I became fully immersed in the story. Vanessa's voice is a quiet one, afraid of what she might face but still brave enough to leave her comfort zone to seek answers. Her love for her sister is strong and through her grief, Vanessa shows the reader the memories she has of Justine and these vivid flashbacks lend Justine a strong presence throughout the novel despite the fact that Justine is no longer alive. This intense devotion and sisterly love is what drives Vanessa to seek the truth as to what happened the night her sister died.
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.
Vanessa then comes across the older of the two brothers, Simon, and together they try to find out where Caleb has disappeared to and what his connection is to the string of men floating up dead to shore. Vanessa and Simon's relationship gradually turns into a romantic one but it doesn't override the mystery in this novel; the romance keeps its distance as a subplot and for this book I was fine with it. Simon was very restrained emotionally so I wasn't quite able to connect to his character the way I did with his brother later on in the story. I found Caleb to be much more appealing and through Vanessa's flashbacks the reader sees how open and happy he was with Justine. The Caleb from the past and present are vastly different but the change in his demeanor is tangible. His grief for Justine felt just as authentic as Vanessa's. Simon, in contrast, is harder to crack and I felt that barrier. He is however a good match for Vanessa and I did enjoy their intense moments together. The plot does move slowly since Rayburn introduces many intricate details but I took great pleasure with the languid pace, enjoying the author's detailed passages and well-placed revelations. I also have to mention Vanessa's interaction with another character: her friendship with Paige, before things turned to a more threatening tone, were light-hearted and fun, almost reminiscent of a Sarah Dessen-type friendship.
Crackling with intensity and power, Tricia Rayburn's YA debut puts a menacing new spin on the world of sirens. Siren gives readers a glimpse of what happens when the supernatural clashes with reality and the threatening consequences. Siren will shake you and leave you wanting more.