Lorelei is a freshman vocal student at a prestigious music college in Maine, when tragedy strikes. While her father is visiting her for the weekend, he is struck and killed by a car. As he is dying, Lorelei has an overwhelming urge to serenade him and she sings to him as the ambulances are arriving. Lorelei's mother has never been supportive of her decision to pursue music and with the family in mourning, she forbids Lorelei to return to school. Lorelei disobeys her mother and sneaks off to return to Maine, only to discover that she cannot concentrate on her classes. She receives a letter from a mysterious Great Aunt, who lives on Cape Cod, with an offer for Lorelei to visit indefinitely. Curious about her aunt and unable to cope with school, Lorelei takes off to meet the family that she has never known.
Without giving away any major plot twists, Emily Kiebel's Serenade is The Little Mermaid meets Final Destination. It's a strange mix that actually works. Keibel writes high energy action scenes and her book has a cinematic quality. It's often exciting and her writing makes it very clear to visualize. Plotting and action are Kiebel's strengths.
That said, Serenade was not my cup of tea.
I felt very disconnected from Lorelei at the start of the novel and I never got beyond that feeling. I often gravitate towards stories with grieving characters and I usually find them to be cathartic. However, Lorelei's grief did not mirror my own experiences and I just couldn't relate to her. She was whiny and entitled. Although her mother's coldness is explained, it rings false. I wanted a resolution between the mother and daughter. I wanted her icy exterior melted a bit. The characters often felt one-dimensional. This was especially true later in the story with the romance between Lorelei and Tyler. I just didn't buy into it.
Serenade is set to be the first in a series of books and that means that there isn't a total resolution at the end. The ending is rushed with a lot of explanations regarding supernatural elements in the world. Again, a set up for the coming book.The number of lose ends seemed more like a second book in a series, the book that is written in response to the overwhelming popularity of the first novel. Unfortunately, I was not left wanting more.
Like I said, this was not my cup of tea. I think this could appeal to YA audiences or people who like stories with fantasy elements. The story has a lot of creativity. I liked elements of Kiebel's writing, but overall, I didn't feel like the story gelled.