After her sister is murdered, Alice Forster doesn’t know what to do with herself, she doesn’t even know who she is anymore without Megan. When she receives an email from Megan, Alice thinks it must be someone sick playing a horrible joke on her but after looking into it further, it seems to be everything that Alice could have asked for.
The email holds information about Soul Beach, a place online where Alice can be with Megan once again. In this wonderful, perfect world filled with sun and sand, Alice can speak to her sister as well as making new friends at the same time. Unfortunately, everyone who lives on Soul Beach is dead and with the mystery of Megan’s murderer still not solved, Alice knows she must take it upon herself to figure it out. If she does though, what will happen to her…and Megan?
What I thought
When I first heard about this book, I really didn’t want to read it. I can’t even remember what it was that I didn’t like the sound of but it just didn’t sound like me. After hearing so many bloggers rave about it though, I figured I should give it a chance.
It didn’t take me long to have changed my mind! As soon as Soul Beach started, I realised that I had been far too quick to judge. As the cyber world of Soul Beach begins to be revealed, I saw something new, edgy and unique from Kate Harrison. Of all of the young adult books I have read, I have never seen anything remotely close to being like this. Due to Alice’s loss of her sister, I could see her need for this mythical place very much. Who wouldn’t give anything to be able to speak to a loved one again after they had died, especially someone as close to you as your sister?
Although much of Alice’s story is about the grief for her sister, her personality still manages to shine through. It is easy to feel for her because of the kind of girl she is: caring, sweet and will do anything for the people she loves. I really liked the way that her character seemed to have two sides, one when she was with her sister and another when she was in the real world. Alice (and her friends) were also so real. The culture of British teenagers is brought in well and shows what they can really get up to instead of masking it like other books have in the past.
Secondary characters were fantastic to read about. With a mix of people in the real world and those on Soul Beach, I could find something I liked about each and every one of them. Alice’s friends obviously care a lot about her but I could understand their frustrations with losing a bit of their best friend. Then there was the new people Alice meets on Soul Beach. Each one of them is there for a reason but that isn’t explained much at all so there was a lot of intrigue for me about these characters.
A large amount of Soul Beach is a murder mystery though and I don’t think I was expecting it to be quite as prominent. Megan is buried and still, no one knows who her murderer is so this makes up a large amount of the plot but I liked these parts. Soul Beach is told from a dual narrative from both Alice and the murderer’s perspective. As the story continues, you get to realise that the murderer is someone that Alice knows but like the reader, she has no idea who they really are. I had so many ideas going through my head about who it could be but then something else would happen and I would completely change my mind.
As Soul Beach is set to be a trilogy, there was so much left unanswered. The murderer has not been identified and there are smaller parts that I am still dying to know about! Instead of disliking this book like I imagined I would, I really liked it and now cannot wait for the next book!