Monday, 3 June 2013

The Sea Sisters - Lucy Clarke


Katie's world falls apart when she learns of the death of her younger sister, Mia. Mia had been backpacking around the world with her best friend, Finn, but when the police arrive on Katie's doorstep one night, they tell her Mia was not only traveling seemingly alone, but that they suspect she committed suicide as well. Katie cannot accept that her fun loving, spontaneous sister would kill herself, so she shirks off her planned and structured life to trace Mia's footsteps around the world in an effort to understand both what happened and who her sister really was.

The Sea Sisters is told both from Katie's point of view as she struggles to deal with Mia's death and follow her travels across the world, and from the travel journal Mia kept, documenting her feelings, her self discoveries and the revelations which set her own world spinning.

 So, over the Dorothy Koomson obsession! In comes Lucy Clarke's debut novel, The Sea Sisters. This is a great, clear and concise story of the relationship between two sisters, and namely how love can be so close to hate sometimes it can crossover and blur your feelings. I liked both Mia and Katie, the two sisters of the title. They are both different, flawed people who both envy qualities in their opposing sister without vocalising it to each other, to their regret. Mia, the younger sister, is searching for who she is and where she came from, which Katie, who feels like she's had to take on too much, too young, wants to break out of her organised, structured life and do something daring or spontaneous. Both sisters do these things, but not in the way they'd perhaps planned.

My favourite character was Finn. He has been in love with Mia since he was a teenager, but Mia is unaware. He has to balance the rejection of unrequited love, with the loss of his friendship with Mia if he chooses to move on with her. In opposition to Finn is Noah, the mysterious - and all together, a bit of a selfish idiot - object of Mia's affections. His past is troubling and he doesn't know how to deal with it.

The end of the book is bittersweet - as it was always destined to be. The author was replying to comments on a website, and I commented how much I'd enjoyed the book, but what would happen to Finn and Katie once the story ended? The author replied she hoped they would grow into something beautiful, which I would hope too, but I think in 'reality' their relationship would not be able to cope with the loss of Mia. They would have to adapt to living without her, but I don't think either character would truly get over her death. 

The book is about life and how your plans can change in the blink of an eye, not always to your liking. It's about love - between men and women and the love between siblings. And it's about regret - not telling someone something that you should have, parting on bad terms, words spat out in anger and how you will regret the things you haven't done, perhaps much more than the things you did do.

Very much looking forward to Lucy Clarke's second novel, which I think is out next year. 

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