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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 110576656X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1105766565
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,287,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written in beautiful prose, The Accidental Siren warns of the perils of obsession. The setting is described using flawless metaphors that paint James's world in the reader's mind. The plot becomes more haunting with every chapter, effectively dragging the reader deeper into the story with every twist and turn." -Blogcritics.org

From the Back Cover

Mara Lynn is the most beautiful girl in the world. James Parker is the ordinary boy who discovers her power.

'94 was a good year to be twelve. Star Wars still had two more years as Box Office King, cartoons were still hand-drawn, and the Disney "D" still looked like a backwards "G." Words like "Columbine," "Al Qaeda," and "Y2K" were not synonymous with terror, and 9-1-1 was an emergency number instead of a date. At twelve years old, summer still mattered. Monarch caterpillars still crawled beneath every milkweed leaf. Dandelions (or "wishes" as Mara called them) were flowers instead of pests. And Divorce was still considered a tragedy.

Before Mara, carnivals didn't make me sick.

Set on the beaches of Lake Michigan, this contemporary fairytale 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.

More About the Author

"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, MI 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 three novels in two years and I'm proud of the accomplishment. Currently, I'm self-publishing "Lighthouse Nights," searching for an agent with "The Music Box on the Hill," and rewriting "The Day I Wore Purple."

Dreams, here I come.

Customer Reviews

This story hooked me from the first page, and I was really sorry for it to end.
Kim Perkins
I happened upon this book online and read it and couldn't resist buying a copy and leaving a review.
fallingstar930
I love complex characters and all of these were point on in their multi-layered personalities.
Theresa G

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Elizabeth Burgess on October 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is well written and has very interesting concepts. It is told from the point of view of the 12-year-old protagonist, yet still poses questions about love and lust, good and evil, responsibility, hope, and what it means to be family. The author has a great vocabulary and an amazing ability to paint with words in order to show the reader his story.

Mini-spoilers:
Not for the squeamish or the easily offended, and not for children. Some of the bullying that occurs is violent and there are some bloody scenes.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this hidden gem on wattpad, and read it from start to finish in two days. The complexity of the characters really pulled me in. Good story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lmarthens on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not a reader, I like audio books and hook that to my ears and go about my day. But this book, had me sitting and reading, almost skipping paragraphs because I wanted to see how each chapter ended. I didn't allow the skipping of the paragraphs, but I hurried through to see the unpredictable end. Then went back to make sure I didn't miss a word.

I loved all the images from that time period, I loved the characters and their conversations. They all sounded very preadolescent with their mild swearing and trying to be "cool".

The book was very engaging and disturbing at the same time. Vander Ark was able to get into the mind of a 12 year old and express those feelings on paper. He was able to talk about the foster care side of the family with good knowledge and show the difficulties foster families, in a rare situation, face.

I will be recommending this book to lots of my friends. Now on to get the next one of Vander Ark's books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lidia N. Tomas on August 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The way this story enables you to feel, is just amazing and disturbing, teaching you how to grow up all over again..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stalked! Reviews by Melissa on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I gave this book a 5 star rating, and here is why...

You know the part in Aladdin where the Genie says,

"PHEEEEEEEE - NOMEEEEEE - NALLLLLLL COOOOOOOOSMIC POWWWWWWWAHS!" ??

Well that's the only explanation that I could come up with as to how this book was that friggin good. lol He either laced the watering hole with the ceremonial kool-aid, or he was blessed by the gods with a ridiculously amazing talent for writing. I'm thinking both. haha ( I don't give out a five star rating lightly so it must have been hoodoo. lol)

I won't lie though, I was beyond hesitant to pick up this book. I dislike stories about pubescent young love. They do nothing for me because I have a hard time relating to the characters and everything seems rather perverse because it's an adult story that comes from the mouths of babes. I have a total disconnect and I just move on. However, a friend of mine read and reviewed the book and was falling all over her blog about it. And while I still had reservations, I scurried over and stalked out the author and decided it would be unfair of me, not to give it a shot. Now I can say that without a doubt, it was the best move I have made so far.

Right from the very first page I was intrigued. My fingers had a mind of their own and kept thumbing through the pages to absorb more. It felt as if I honestly couldn't get enough. Not only was I reading this twisted epic re telling of adolescence, but I was IN it. I wasn't in it in the traditional sense, but my whole reality was transformed into this world and I felt like part of it. It's an amazing feat for a writer to accomplish that level of intensity and he pulled it off. I applaud Jake Vander Ark for his abilities and his passion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryanne H on July 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Accidental Siren is wonderfully written and enjoyable to read. It reminds me of the childish games of make believe my friends and I used to play, and that age when you are on the brink of realizing just how ugly life can be. I would definitely recommend The Accidental Siren to anyone, but especially to those who are not old enough to enjoy memories of a time before electronics suppressed the imaginative spirit, when all we had for entertainment was what we could come up with in our own worlds.

As you read this coming of age story about the pain of first love, pay attention to the secondary characters, and how their lives and even their personalities are changed because of this one special little girl and the boy who loves her. RIVETING!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dayla F.M. on July 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Article first published as Book Review: The Accidental Siren by Jake Vander Ark on Blogcritics. [under Dayla F.M., Amazon won't let me link]

I received a free copy of The Accidental Siren for review purposes.

The Accidental Siren by Jake Vander Ark is a young adult debut set in Lake Michigan that follows twelve year-old James during the summer of 1994. This particular summer is unforgettable for young James since it is the year he experiences his first love. Beautiful and surreal, twelve year-old Mara is the object of every boy's dream, yet her attraction goes beyond reality and touches on the supernatural.

Vander Ark successfully recreates 1994 for the reader by using references to popular artists, films, and trends of the time. He openly warns the reader of the prejudices that were still active in the early nineties; racial discrimination being an important subject in this novel. The Accidental Siren also explores the difficulties of growing up. James, a prepubescent boy when we meet him, struggles with his weight, hormones, and changing body as the summer progresses.

James, as a protagonist, is unreliable. As the frightening conclusion approaches, he does nothing to show us that he is affected by what he's learned about Mara. At times, as is pointed out within the story, the reader is left wondering if James is in fact relaying the truth, or if everything we've learned from him is all an illusion caused by obsession.

There are moments where Vander Ark's characters appear unrealistic. However, an older version of James reflects on particular events in certain chapters, reminding the reader that this is an adult's retelling of a childhood memory.

Written in beautiful prose, Vander Ark's tale warns of the perils of obsession.
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