Katie Greene cannot believe that her younger sister Mia killed herself by jumping from a cliff in Bali, even though the coroner concluded it was suicide. Mia had been travelling for six months with her best friend Finn and was meant to be having the time of her life. So why is she now dead? Katie is determined to find out what was going through her sister’s troubled mind when she died, so upon discovering Mia’s detailed travel journal, she carefully follows her footsteps, heading to sunny California, Maui, Western Australia and then to that fateful last stop on Mia’s trip – Bali.
The Sea Sisters appealed to me because it hinted at a compelling familial mystery combined with the excitement of travelling. And I love books about travelling, from road trips across the United States to round-the-world trips and exotic locations. In The Sea Sisters, Mia’s travel journal is the element which the rest of the story revolves around, meaning the reader gets a real feel of what it’s like to visit each of the places on Mia’s trip, from the sound of the waves, the view of barren landscapes and beautiful coastlines, and the taste of local delicacies. I felt like I was not just hearing about these locations, but experiencing them. If one quote from the book could portray the entire tone, it would be ‘People go travelling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something.’ As The Sea Sisters is narrated by both Mia and Katie, I became completely absorbed in their journey.
And then there’s the crazy family drama that pushes the story forward. I have not read a book before where there’s so much! Katie was living a safe, normal life in London – sharing a house with Mia after the death of their mother – until her sister decides to go travelling. Months later, after receiving the news of Mia’s death, she is propelled into a state of disarray, becoming more like her care-free sister. It was incredibly compelling to read and although I cannot personally relate to sisterly bonds, due to the unique structure of the novel, I managed to get inside the head of both sisters; I was able to see just how complicated a love-hate relationship could get. I enjoyed the foreshadowing, sometimes accurately guessing what was about to happen and sometimes being completely surprised. It’s a story of many twists, from betrayal to lies, discoveries to concealment – enjoyable for us, yet cruel to The Sea Sisters’ characters.
The Sea Sisters is the first book I read this year while sitting in the sunshine. It’s a book you just have to read outside; a contemporary novel set in exotic locations, exploring the complicated bond between sisters. I’d be surprised if it does not make you want to jump on a plane and go elsewhere – although preferably without the drama!
Published: 12th March 2013 (US) 9th May 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Touchstone (US) HarperCollins (UK)
Source: Thank you HarperCollins for providing this book for review!
If you liked: Wanderlove, Sister & The Imaginary Girls