As my long time blog readers know, I enjoy reading from a variety of genres throughout the year. Something about this title called to me, so I added it to the queue for review.
About The Accidental Siren
Mara Lynn is the most beautiful girl in the world. James Parker is the ordinary boy who discovers her power.
The year is 1994. James, a pudgy twelve-year-old, responds to an ad for a used camcorder at a mysterious suburban home. Before he can knock on the door, he notices boys–a dozen at least–frozen amongst the trees behind the house. Their faces are blank. One boy presses “record” on a walkman and holds it above his head… and then James hears it, the voice of a little girl. Sweet; high like a songbird without the shrill. It was a church song. It came from inside the house.
James doesn’t know it yet, but the girl he’s about to meet is a modern-day siren.
The Accidental Siren depicts the joys and consequences of young love as Mara and James meet, shoot a movie, fend off bullies, and explore the potential of infinite beauty.
About Jake Van de Ark
“What I really want to do is direct.”
Yeah, I was that kid.
I spent my high-school career as the ghost of the art room, passionately constructing a portfolio that would provide the first step toward a creative occupation. Luckily, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago didn’t consider GPA when selecting applicants, so I was immediately accepted into one of the most prestigious art programs in the country.
Unfortunately, the only thing I learned in art school was how much I hated art.
But I found myself! And that’s important, right?
I graduated with a BFA in 2006 and moved to Los Angeles to harness my dream of becoming the next Ingmar Bergman (thanks a lot, art school).
In LA, I began writing screenplays as a means to direct. I found a job reading screenplays for the same reason. I read a lot of crap. I wrote a lot of crap. But little did I know… I was learning.
In the three-year process of creating short films and pursuing funding for features, I learned that directing came naturally to me, but producing did not.
I wasn’t able to get a project off the ground. When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, I moved back to my hometown of Grand Haven,
Michigan with nothing to show but three screenplays.
One day, while working as a stage manager for a national dance competition, I had an epiphany that only a repressed, depressed, living-with-his-parents artist could have: what if I wrote books? Unlike screenplays, a book is finished when it’s finished. When the final draft is complete, a book becomes a marketable product. If I work my butt off, maybe I could actually make money doing what I love!
I’m not a millionaire yet… but I did write four novels in three years and I’m proud of the accomplishment. Currently, I’m engaged to my soul-mate, self-publishing all four books, and developing a sequel to The Accidental Siren.
Dreams, here I come.
My Thoughts on The Accidental Siren~
I would definitely classify this title as a coming of age story. I just wouldn’t give it to my teenage son to read right now as I find much of the content to be best suited to a discerning adult who can appreciate the different controversial topics brought up in the story as a mechanism to move the story and bring life to the characters.
With that said, I fear that most of my Christian readers will want to take a pass on this particular title. The ‘siren’ (Mara) ignites feelings within all the characters she contacts that reveal the dark desires that can fester below the surface. Lusty looks linger on many of the characters when in closer proximity with this young girl and adults who should behave better are found behaving badly all ‘under her spell.’ The coming of age for James manifests in an early awakening of attraction to Mara and physical changes tied with puberty are discussed.
For someone who started writing scripts first, the novel is not bad. However, I did sometimes feel like it was floating somewhere between a script and a novel at times. Given that the main character, Jason, is spending the summer before starting junior high filming a story written with the help of his best friend, I was not surprised by the inclusion of some sections that read exactly like a script. However, the underlying style seemed to be present in other parts of the novel.
I did enjoy the book enough that the story line haunted my own thoughts when I was doing other things. It did take a little time from when I started until it grew on me. So, if I was not reviewing the title, I might not have continued over the ‘hump’ so I could better appreciate the story more than I initially did.
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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway in celebration of The Accidental Siren through October 16th.
Disclaimer ~ I was provided with an electronic download of the book to facilitate a review. No monetary compensation occurred and all opinions are my own.