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 Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.
Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident. After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.
But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more.
Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear.
As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.
Vanessa has always been in her big sister Justine's shadow, and that is exactly where she wants to be. Terrified of the world, she relies on her sister to make it through each day. However, her life drastically changes when Justine's body washes up on the shore of their vacation home in Winter Harbor. After her death, everyone tries to get back to their lives like nothing has changed, but Vanessa just cannot accept things being an accident. She returns to Winter Harbor to find the answers to her questions, but quickly finds more than she was bargaining for. As more and more bodies wash up on shore, all with smiles on their faces, she knows something sinister is at work, even if she is the only one. Some secrets are too dangerous to be found, and some will change her life forever.
I had a bit of a hard time getting attached to Vanessa, or as her sister calls her, Nessa, at least at first. She is absolutely terrified of everything, and her sister has always been her crutch. Of course all that changes very early in the story when Justine dies. However instead of breaking down, Nessa decides to go off on a trip of her own back to the vacation home where the tragedy happened. It just didn't seem very realistic for a girl who is literally afraid of her own shadow to all of a sudden have the confidence to go off on her own when she just lost someone so important to her. Also, I found the fact that she was so oblivious to her beauty, and allure to be a little odd. However, after putting all that aside, I did become rather endeared to Nessa for her determination to find out what really happened to her sister. Unlike everyone else, she knows something isn't right, and does what it takes to get to the bottom of things, even if that means learning secrets about herself, and her sister that she never wanted to know. Yet, she never once shies away from her path, showing her true strength, even if she doesn't realize it.
Ah the romance, what can I say? It was both sweet yet powerful and I really enjoyed seeing their childhood friendship blossom into so much more. However, despite its powerfulness, everything between them felt so very fragile as well, especially as more secrets were revealed. Nessa's insecurities really came into play towards the end, and my heart was broken as she tried to do what she thought was best. I can only hope that in time they will be able to overcome the obstacles that are between them. Of course that would require a huge does of honesty from Nessa, and that may just prove to be more difficult than it seems.
Siren was a hauntingly beautiful read that kept me sucked right in from the very start. Even though a lot of things were quite predictable, I never once lost interest as I was fully submersed (no pun intended) in this world. I realize the traditional siren mythology doesn't quite follow the same as Siren portrays, but that is what makes fiction so enjoyable. Everything is subject to each person's interpretation, and I really enjoyed Tricia Rayburn's take on Sirens. I cannot wait to dive into the next book as I highly doubt things will stay quite for long. So, in the end I was quite impressed with Siren and found it to be the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and suspense.