Author: Tricia Rayburn
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
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.Always living on the edge, Justine is the complete polar-opposite of Vanessa. While Justine is adventurous, outgoing, and spontaneous, Vanessa is shy, practical, and afraid. When Justine dies cliff-diving, she tries to figure out what happened that unfortunate night with the help of Simon. Little does she know that her sister--and Winter Harbor--hold many fearful secrets that can endanger everybody's life. Will facing her fear be enough to save Winter Harbor? Or will she stay hiding in fear? She has to decide. Her decision will affect all of Winter Harbor...including Simon.
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.
Siren is a bittersweet, dangerous, magical read that will never cease to surprise; much like the sea itself. In Siren, the bond between the Vanessa and Justine is strong, but both have insecurities that affect their perception of themselves and each other. The mystical and enigmatic elements, linked with the romance in Siren, creates a very intense, yet effortless atmosphere that flows throughout the novel.
Vanessa is a compelling and complicated three-dimensional protagonist that is pulled out of her shell once her sister dies. The two sisters; Justine and Vanessa, are a study of contrasts that completely fit together. Even when they are so different, their connection is seemingly unbreakable. After Justine's death, Vanessa copes with her grief through her shared connection with Simon. The romance aspect of Siren doesn't overpower the mystery and sense of urgency in Siren, but rather, it develops slowly as the plot unravels itself and as Simon and Vanessa make sense of their feelings for each other.
The emotional turmoil in Siren is portrayed continuously through Siren's progression. Grief, death, and insecurity are all very visible themes in the novel and the concept of fear is greatly emphasized with every secret, and every anomaly that is revealed. Vanessa's choices and decisions impact not only her, but everyone else. And she has to overcome her fear in hopes of discovering the deep, dark, and unimaginable secrets that her sister left in her wake.
In the midst of searching for answers, Vanessa is able to meet new people and make friends like Paige. Paige doesn't know about Justine and doesn't judge Vanessa right away, and this provides her with a relief from all of the grief and anxiety that she has to deal with. Paige is a supportive character and a real friend to Vanessa. She plays a big part in a secret that even she is unaware of.
Rayburn not only keeps readers on the edge with Siren, but she evokes so much emotion through her words, keeping Siren perfectly balanced. Its build up of suspense and mystery will explode into a fusion of an electrifying and breathtaking climax that will unequivocally satisfy the readers' craving for a beautiful yet simple ending. A+ =)
The Bottom Line: Siren gives a simple, beautiful message with the infusion of mystery, and a paranormal touch.
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 100/100 (A+) !!!This is one of the TEN books that hold the title: The Holy Grail - Beholder of the Perfect 100!!!