Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Night Beach

Kirsty Eagar
Paranormal Young Adult
324 pages
Penguin Books Australia
Available Now (limited release)
Received from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless. You crave them in a way that's not rational, not right, and you're becoming somebody you don't recognise, and certainly don't respect, but you don't even care.

And this person you like is unattainable. Except for one thing...

He lives downstairs.

Abbie has three obsessions. Art. The ocean. And Kane.

But since Kane's been back, he's changed. There's a darkness shadowing him that only Abbie can see. And it wants her in its world.

Night Beach is a story of infinite complexity – easily inviting readers into a life riddled with emotional holes in the shape of a mother and a longtime crush, and enveloping us in a world we can practically touch while captivating us with a heroine whose every emotion reverberates through us. One of the joys of reading Ms. Eagar’s work is meeting her characters, young women and men who are so gloriously real the paper pages fall away and we find ourselves watching the lives of friends unfold before us, their problems often heartbreaking in a way that doesn’t necessarily inspire tears, but rather creates a soul-deep ache we feel more completely than we do salty drops on our cheeks. Night Beach is not quite as emotional as Raw Blue, but it has the same quiet intensity to it, tendrils of supernatural activity winding their way through an otherwise contemporary tale to create a lingering sense of unease, our minds forever questioning whether or not we believe what Abbie is seeing.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Ms. Eagar’s characters is the way they’re put together – small tidbits of who they are fed to us slowly, but so often vital slivers of information are merely hinted at, allowing us the opportunity to infer certain things about them so that we feel as though we’ve earned a piece of them for ourselves to hold close and treasure. The defining attributes of Abbie as a person are never simply told to us, instead we learn about her as we see her react to specific situations and people, her thoughts and actions beginning to paint a picture while still letting us fill in some of Abbie’s blanks with colors of our own. Abbie, like the rest of us, is a myriad of strengths and flaws melded together, her obsession with Kane something she recognizes as ultimately unhealthy, but yet something she craves nonetheless. Normally, as an outside observer, it would be easy for us to want to throttle Abbie for not seeing the situation clearly, but because we feel so connected to her, the tangled emotional mess Kane creates in her echoes through us, and we struggle as she does to separate what’s real, what’s wishful thinking, and what’s outside the realm of possibility.

Kane is highly enigmatic, someone who we desperately want to be the young man Abbie sees when she looks at him, but throughout the story she and we as readers are forced to open our eyes and really look at him, watching as the shape he holds in our minds alters and shifts for reasons both normal and paranormal. It’s the combination of normal and paranormal with regard to Kane that makes this story so eerily fascinating, forcing us to wonder which parts of him are the true Kane and which parts a result of something sinister and otherworldly, and Ms. Eagar dazzles us with her ability to beautifully blur everything about him to the point we’re not sure we’ll ever be able to solve the mystery of who he is. He’s fantasy and nightmare in one, seducing and haunting us at the same time with his tortured state until we’re convinced he’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors, disappearing through our fingers the minute we reach out to grab him.

Overall, Night Beach is another strong addition to Ms. Eagar’s already impressive resume, a slow story that bends reality’s parameters and tests our ability to believe in the rational explanation.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I so need to read this. I want to read Raw Blue first though. I need to order it off of Fishpond. It's so frustrating when you can't access a book in America. But people in other countries have to deal with that all the time, so I should be grateful it's so rare in the US.

  2. uhm! I wanna meet Kane now... Am I shallow for always just caring about the boys? He's Fantasy and Nightmare - you say? Hell that sounds eery!

    Truly I didn't see this book before but it sounds great and if you like it this is enough for me!

  3. I read this not long ago and decided not to review it because I'm so unsure of my feelings. I guess the supernatural stuff wasn't my thing. If it had been contemporary then maybe I would have liked it more. I really do love her writing though, its pretty brilliant. And Raw Blue totally blew me away. Because of her books I want to visit Australia. Oh, and I love how well she captures voice. Its so well done you can see their mannerisms as they speak. Its crazy. And so awesome!

  4. I've heard some mixed reviews on this one so I don't know if I'll pick this up. Plus, I don't like it when I'm not sure what's real and what's imagined. Glad you enjoyed this Jenny. Great review. :)

  5. I read Maja's ,at Nocturnal Library, review and wanted to read Night Beach really badly. Now with your review, I feel like reading it even more. I love books that don't describe us the characters, but shows us through their emotions and actions what kind of person they are and this seems to be the case with the characters in this book.
    I haven't read any of Kristy Eager's books, but I think I need to fix that soon.
    Beautiful review, Jenny.

  6. I ordered this from Fishpond. Can't wait to started reading it - I've heard such good things about Eagar's books!

  7. A story of infinite complexity, you say? That sounds like my kind of book! Too bad it's a limited release.

  8. Oh, this is the author who wrote Raw Blue--I've heard such good things about that book but haven't read it yet *hangs head in shame* And it sounds like she hits it out of the park again! I love when the author reveals a character slowly, like nibbles of the best chocolate ever.

  9. I haven't read anything by this author before, but I've heard amazing things about Raw Blue and this book. I love how complex the characters sound! It doesn't seem like you can have a typical reaction to them and that's making me want to read this soon. I'm glad you liked it, Jenny! Great review. :)

  10. Ohhhh, I've never read anything by Kirsty Eagar before but it sounds like she must be doing something right! The synopsis sounds like nothing else I've ever read, and the complexity of Abbie and Kane... I'm shivering with anticipation! This is one of those books that you convinced me about when I had no intention of reading it before! :)

    Amazingly beautiful review, Jenny! <3

  11. Wow Jenny!!!!!!! Incredible profound review! I haven't heard of this author and books before. I like hearing that Kane's goodness or badness is never obvious.

  12. Girl...your reviews get better and better, I want to run out and find this one. That cover kinda says creepy but Im so excited to read it. I need to hurry and read Raw Blue as well, Ive heard only good things about it, Im MISSING out!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Alison - I absolutely adore all things Kirsty Eagar. She's just an amazing author:) Raw Blue is still my favorite, but this one was really great.

    Danny - He was a super interesting character. I was both afraid of him and attracted to him, and I also wanted to punch him a little:)

    Candace - It was definitely a strange read, I was never sure what was going on and if the supernatural stuff was actually happening. I kind of liked all the uncertainty and weirdness, but you have to be in the mood for it I think:)

    Rachel - This one messes with your head for sure. If you like things a little weird, you'll enjoy it, if not, it might not be for you!

    Nick - I really hope you get a chance to read Kirsty, she's amazing! If you like contemporary YA, definitely read Raw Blue, it's one of my favorite books:) This one is great as well, just a little more out there than Raw Blue!

    Leanna - YAY! Can't wait to see what you think!

    Amanda - You can get it from Fishpond, but it's not available through Book Despository or Amazon or anything, so you have to hunt for it:)

    Mary - Yes, she wrote Raw Blue and I LOVED that one. This one was a strange mix of elements, and it was super fascinating to try and figure out what was happening.

    Sam - I hope you get a chance to read her soon Sam, she's amazing:)

    Mimi - Be prepared for the unusual if you pick this up Mimi! It's not your normal paranormal YA romance, but that's definitely what I liked about it:)

    Rachel - Kane was completely captivating. I wanted to love him and hate him and everything in between and that was fun:)

    Tina - Awww thank you! Definitely pick up Raw Blue, it will give you a good feel for her stories. They're a bit slower pace-wise, but that just gives you time to really absorb them:)

  14. Wow- this sounds awesome and right up my alley. I've heard such good things about this author, but can't get my hands on a copy of her books. I must read Raw Blue, too! I just learned about Fishpond, so I will have to check it out!

  15. Craves him, she does seem to have a few issues

  16. This one looks good...Had never heard of this one (actually kind of ignored it because the cover creeps me out )

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  17. I have read some great reviews on this and some not so good ones. I am guessing this is a head scratching you get or you don't read. Maja at Nocturnal Library loved this one. I like your description of fantasy and nigtmare in one. Very interesting!

  18. Christina - Definitely check out Fishpond, I'm going to get myself a copy of Raw Blue from there:)

    Linda - She does, but they're issues you can relate to I think:)

    Krazzyme - The cover is fitting to the story, it has a very eerie feel to it:)

    Heidi - Yes, it's going to be a love it or hate it type of book I think. It plays with your head and does some weird things, so it's not going to be for everyone. I really loved the uniqueness of it all though!

  19. Oh this sounds so good. You are all so going to get me on an Aussie reading kick. However, those salt drops on my cheek better be me finding my way to a beach (hard to do inland... but I digress) instead of tears. NO! I hate to cry and yet you make this sound so irresistible! Evil Jenny! ;) <3

  20. Wonderful review! Although I haven't heard of this one after reading your review I really want to try the author's work! The premise seems to be very interesting and the cover looks very unique. I love the way the colours all blend with one another and the model's mysterious expression is very chilling! Anyway great review ;-) The characters sound very engaging! Thanks for sharing Jenny!


  21. I've been dying to read this one. I have it on my nightstand and I glance at it longingly every night before bed. I'm so glad it has your seal of approval. I'm looking forward to checking out this combo of normal and paranormal, and perhaps getting my heart broken by Kane.

  22. Oh, I loved this one. Such gorgeous writing. And you're spot on in your description of Kane - I loved him and hated him all at once.

  23. First off, jealous! So jealous that you go to read this book. Second, awesome review! I love the getting small parts of the characters and letting the reader see the whole picture at the end. Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing Jenny!

  24. Melissa - I didn't cry in this one, it just made my heart hurt which I think is even better in a masochistic sort of way:)

    Jaskirat - I adore Kirsty Eagar, definitely pick up something of hers! Raw Blue is one of my all time favorite reads:)

    Missie - Yay! I'll be interested to see what you think. It's kind of out there and strange, but I liked that about it:)

    Angie - YES! Kane was such an interesting character:)

    Savy - I love how she never tells us about her characters, she lets us figure them out as we go, it makes for more emotional involvement I think:)

  25. I loved Raw Blue so if I've got this on my wishlist. Now if only I could somehow get my hands on a copy!

    "He’s fantasy and nightmare in one, seducing and haunting us at the same time with his tortured state ..." You have such a way with words, Jenny! I can't wait to meet Kane! He sounds like a fantastically complex character - just what I would expect from Eagar.

  26. I really love the sound of this one, Jenny! The fantasy and nightmare in one aspect is really fascinating and unique. I really wish U.S. publishers would give Eagar a shot. I think her books would do great here. I'll see if I can track down an ebook copy of the book or something. Beautiful review, Jenny.

    p.s. I was *really* bummed with Bloodrose especially with how Ren was handled.

  27. EEEEEEEE Jenny! I am SO SO SO glad you are able to read this book! Some Aussie books are really hard to obtain in the U.S and I'm glad that other people are finally getting the chance to read more and more Aussie books! Even though I haven't read any books by Eagar, I do have a copy of Night Beach and I hope I can read it soon!

    Awesome review, Jenny! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!

  28. Wow brilliant review, Jenny! I've been hearing amazing things about Night Beach and am so pleased that you liked it! Aussie authors, yeah! Happy reading. :)

  29. I've heard such positive things about this one so it's great to see that you loved it too, Jenny! :) I adore boys with a mystery surrounding them so I think I will really love this one if I ever get it. I wish this was in the U.S!

  30. Such a lovely review Jenny! I loved Eagar's Raw Blue, so I've been super excited about reading this one when I first heard about it. It definitely sounds like another dark read, I received my copy the other day so I can't wait to dive in! :)

  31. Oh gosh...I think that I really need to look into this author! Maybe I should read Raw Blue first though.

  32. I don't know if anything can ever beat Raw Blue for me, it was so incredible. But your review makes this one sound as unforgettable. I'm definitely going to have to read it.