Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★
Katie had been dreaming of the sea.
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?
I loved this book. I loved the sibling relationship between Mia and Katie, described in all the ups and downs and conflicting emotions that exist between siblings. I loved the beautiful descriptions of all the places they travelled. And I couldn’t put it down because the mystery of it all compelled me forward: did Mia really commit suicide?
She wondered whether he had already decided what had happened. In the time he’d known Mia, he had seen her at her worst – impetuous, wayward and volatile – but he didn’t know the real Mia; the one who swam like a fish in the sea, who kicked off her shoes to dance, who loved catching hailstones in her palms. “It wasn’t suicide,” she said firmly.
Let’s start with the relationship between Mia and Katie. It’s at the center of the whole book and I think it’s written beautifully. They clearly love each other but there’s much more to their relationship. There’s jealousy and an inability to talk to each other, alternating between beautiful moments where they laugh together.
It’s a complicated relationship, which is what makes it relatable and interesting to read about.
“Can you let me know when you’ve arrived?”
“Sure,” Mia replied, with a shrug she hadn’t intended. She wanted to tell Katie that she loved her, or say how much she’d miss her, but somehow she couldn’t find the words. It had always been that way for her. Instead, she lifted a hand in a wave, then turned and left with Finn.
Then there’s the mystery. Each chapter is told in turns from Katie’s or Mia’s point of view. Because Katie follows in Mia’s footsteps, we get to experience their travels through both eyes. And the more you get to know about Mia, the less sure you can be whether she committed suicide or not. Because she’s vibrant, lively, adventurous, but also lost, lonely and sad.
The descriptions of their travels are amazing as well. Despite the sad undertone of the book, there are also so many joyful parts and they’re all connected to the ocean. The book makes these countries come alive like living postcards. The book makes you want to grab a backpack and go there.
She laughed, and Finn took the opportunity to race past her, splashing through the white-water and hurdling small waves before the sea finally took his legs from under him. He tumbled forwards, flattening his body and spreading his arms so he hit the water with a slap, sending silver droplets skyward.
A beautiful story, heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.