Wednesday 26 June 2013

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Katie’s carefully structured world is shattered by the news that her headstrong younger sister, Mia, has been found dead in Bali- and the police claim it was suicide.

With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and- page by page; country by country- begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death.

What she discovers changes everything. But will her search for the truth push their sisterly bond- and Katie- to breaking point?

This is the first Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2013 that I have read this year and I think it was a great first read. Especially as I actually read it on holiday J.

Katie and Mia are two very different sisters. Katie is the sensible, must do it right one (sounds a bit like me!) and Mia is the more reckless of the two, the one that just does what she likes, but knows at the same time that she is mucking things up.

The story is told from Katie and Mia’s viewpoints- each chapter alternates between them. I like it when stories do this as it really gives the reader a true understanding of the main characters and their relationships with each other. It was also really interesting to see the aftermath of conversations and arguments the characters had had with each other when alone.

Mia sees Katie as the sensible one and always thought that Katie was better than her in everyway. There was always a niggling doubt in Mia’s mind about how they could possibly be related. Katie on the other hand just can’t seem to understand why her sister acts so aloof and unfeeling at one point exclaiming ‘I don’t know who you are.”

I thought the below sentence really summed up the older-younger sister relationship (from the older sister’s perspective):

“I was handed the role of older sister: sensible, protective reliable. You were handed younger sister: wild, independent, selfish”.

I thought the author got the sister relationship across extremely well as it was almost like she was describing the relationship I have with my younger sister. (Since she’s had a baby though we get on much better J).

Because I think I am more like Katie as a character at the beginning of the story, I found Mia’s recklessness so frustrating and I could feel myself tensing when she was just making snap decisions to go places and not really seeming to worry about the consequences or the money involved. I liked though that the reader was able to see what exactly was going through Mia’s mind, something that sadly Katie did not learn until too late.

I thought the journal idea was great as it helped the reader and Katie get to know and understand Mia better. Without the journal I think Mia’s character would have stayed aloof, so this was brilliant idea from Lucy Clarke.

When I read the Q&A at the back of the book I discovered that the author really had been the places described in the book, and I could see how well this had come across in her writing. She had made the places really come alive for me. I thought the author really got the feeling for the hot countries across and I could even feel the warmth of the places portrayed in her writing and really felt like I was there.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this. I kept wanting to know where the novel would take me next and at times wondered where the author was going to go from there.

This was a great debut novel from Lucy Clarke and I am really looking forward to more from her.


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