Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received digital copy from publisher to review
Genre: YA Contemporary.
Book Description: Kai met Avery only once--in the moment he died saving her life. Now when he's not using his new healing powers to help people, he watches helplessly as Avery's life is unraveled by his death. To help her, he risks everything by breaking the rules, dangerously blurring the barriers between life and death.
My thoughts: It's hard to try to describe the emotions of this book in a review. It is beautifully written and follows the story of two teenagers who are hurting. The book is fictional, but the issues that the two are dealing with are real. The circumstances of their introduction to each other was tragic and leads to this story that is full of healing and selflessness.
Kai died six months earlier when he saved Avery's life. He has watched her struggle to live her life. More than anything he wants to heal her and give her a reason to live a happy life. Avery feels guilt and pain. She has stopped doing the activities that she loves and feels that she has no reason to be happy when a boy died to save her.
One thing that impressed me about this story is that Sarah Beard didn't sugar coat the issues the teens were facing or their emotional reaction to them. The underlying message of this book is one of hope. It also is a book about service. Doing things for others can help a person to heal. Sometimes life may seem bleak, but it can get better. This is a lesson learned by some of the adults in the story too.
The book uses two imperfect teens to tell a brilliant story. While the format uses angelic intervention to make change, the angel is a boy who just wants to make things better. I don't think Kai realized the impact that helping Avery would have on him. In this case, a human girl made a big difference to an angel and gave him the courage to face his past.
The book has some delicate issues. Physical abuse, drug abuse, and suicide are included in this book. I would feel comfortable letting my kids read this story.
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Read an Excerpt:
(Kai’s point of view)
I’m not sure if I have a heart, but something in my ribcage swells at the sight of Avery. Her hair shimmers like spun gold in the sunlight, falling over her shoulder and hiding her face. She’s sitting on a sheet of black rock, head bent, and the flowery skirt of her sundress ripples in the breeze.
If she turns around, she’ll see me. If I speak, she’ll hear my voice. I open my mouth to do that, but it’s parched, hit with an unexpected drought of words.
I’ve been walking for hours, and I still don’t have a solid plan. I have an end goal, but it’s like looking up at the peak of a mountain when I’m still in the valley. I want Avery to find happiness again, but I have no idea how to get her there.
Luckily, improvising is what I’m best at. Writing songs on the fly, talking myself out of trouble, and ad-libbing life in general. When I had a life, I was dropped into a new environment every few months with no time for planning. Survival depended on my ability to improvise, because it was the only way to keep my head above water.
As I inch toward Avery, I turn phrases over in my mind, trying to choose the best way to introduce myself. I hate to think how she’ll react if she recognizes me, but I doubt she will. I saw her run across my picture on a missing persons report once, and she scanned right past it. Besides, I saw my reflection in the shop window this morning, and although my face is the same, I don’t exactly look like myself with my new Jack Frost hair.
Over her shoulder, I see she’s holding a fishing net in her lap. Her fingers are working with it like she’s trying to free something. A crab. Her hands tremble as she tries to unravel it, so she’s not really getting anywhere.
Without thinking, I fish the pocketknife from my shorts, unfold the blade, and lower it in front of her in offering. She flinches and whips around to look at me, eyes wide.
So much for improvising.
I nod toward the tangled mess in her lap. “For the crab.” Yes. Those are the words I’ve waited six months to speak to her. If Charles comes in the next moment to take back his ring, at least I can live in eternal peace knowing I was able to utter those three words.
Her brows pinch together, then she shakes her head and turns back to the crab. “I’m trying to free him, not eat him.”
For a few breaths, I’m speechless. In awe that she just talked to me. She can see me. And hear me. If I reach out and touch her shoulder, she’ll feel my fingertips on her skin. I don’t, of course. I’ve scared her enough for one day.
“I know,” I say, trying to keep my voice soft and non-threatening. I crouch down and offer the knife again, this time handle first. “It’s for the net.”
Her hands go still, and then she smiles sheepishly. “Oh. Right.”
She takes the knife and goes to work, biting her lower lip as she concentrates on plucking away strands of netting. I wonder why she’s going to so much trouble to free a half-dead crab, but I say nothing because for some reason it seems really important to her.
The knife makes her task easier, but when the crab is free, she frowns at the water, swallowing hard. Seeing the reluctance in her face, I stand and open my hand. “Here. I’ll throw it in.”
She deposits the crab in my palm, and I carry the newly liberated creature to where the waves are pitching against the rock. I toss it back home, and it disappears beneath the marbled surface.
When I turn back, Avery is standing with her arms twined around her waist. As I stroll toward her, the wind kicks up and sends golden strands of hair flying around her. With the way she’s standing there on the rocks, she looks like some kind of mythical siren. I feel just as scared as if she were one, just as bewitched. The haunting song in her eyes lures me in until I’m standing right in front of her. She gazes up at me a long moment, searching my face as if she’s hunting for familiarity. For a minute I worry she recognizes me. But then she folds the knife and hands it back.
About the Author: Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she's not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.
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“Beyond the Rising Tide” blog tour schedule:
June 14: Singing Librarian Books | Emmy Mom | Compass Book Ratings
June 15: Katie’s Clean Book Collection | Cindy Bennett
Sweetly Made | Sorcery in the Bookshelves
June 16: Rockin’ Book Reviews | Geo Librarian
June 17: Heidi Reads | Kindle and Me
June 18: Fire and Ice
June 19: Inklings and Notions
June 20: My Book a Day
June 21: Bookworm Lisa | Min Reads and Reviews | LDS Women’s Book Review
June 22: Robyn Echols Books | Fantasy World | The Write Path
June 23: Wishful Endings | Getting Your Read On | Batch of Books
June 24: Mylissa’s Reviews and Book Thoughts | Maybe Books Will Be Our Always
June 25: Charmed Haven Book Reviews | Just Commonly
June 26: Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
June 27: Literary Time Out | Book by Book
June 28: That Artsy Reader Girl | The Real Housewives of Riverton
June 29: Mel’s Shelves
June 30: Books Are Sanity | Fictionally | Read Headed Book Lady