Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar



Night BeachPublication date: April 26th 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


There aren’t that many real Maja books out there, books that hit the very center of my soul, that make me dizzy with admiration and excitement. And as it turns out, I love heavily atmospheric books. If you’d asked me yesterday, I would have vehemently denied it. Sure, some of my favorite books fit the description (The Scorpio Races, The Space Between), but I always thought of them as exceptions rather than a rule. What I realized with Night Beach is that the way these books make me feel is what I’m chasing the entire time, what I’m hoping for every time I open a new book. Night Beach made me want to cry and throw up and hug the book and laugh and rock back and forth and hide somewhere warm and safe, but most of all, it made me Feel! And nevermind that the strongest feeling it evoked was dread, it made everything sharper and more beautiful.

Slipping into Abbie’s skin was almost effortless, she is conscious of her every feeling, every color she sees, every breath she takes. Even when she dislikes herself, she understands what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. I kept wondering whether anyone can truly be that self-aware and aware of their surroundings. Most people just stumble through life with one eye closed, squinting through the other, but good authors, really good authors like Kirsty Eagar, stop to notice things and then make you notice them too. They provide insight you wouldn’t normally have.

Peeking through my fingers, what I see is light. I take my hands away from my face, and stand up, and I can’t understand how it is that I’m aware of the rest of the world, but I’m not really in it. It’s like I’ve been tucked into a crease. Because although the southerly is still howling, and the ocean is snarled and messy, and further up the beach are my friends and the break and the wall, where I am is completely still, except for a circling cloud of luminous sand.


Night Beach is filled with symbolism. In one of the most powerful scenes, Abbie eats little pieces of paper she’s been collecting since she was a kid. They contain every hope she ever wrote down, and she opens the little box and swallows them one by one. There is so much emotion in that little scene. I choked up thinking about this girl burying all her hopes and dreams deep into herself, literally eating everything she’s ever wanted. Things like that make this book really unforgettable. Most of the time though, trying to understand it is like trying to interpret a dream you can barely remember. There are dozens of possible answers, but the right one is just beyond your reach.

Raw Blue was one of the first books that showed me how YA can have true literary value. Unbelievably enough, Night Beach took this a step further and made me forget I was reading YA, made me forget I was reading at all at times. Abbie’s shadows engulfed me, surrounded me completely, and made me want to run to the brightest, sunniest place I could find.

If you’re very attached to clean endings and logical solutions, this is most definitely not a book for you. I’m still not quite sure what it’s about, I have no idea what to make of it, but I know it shook me to the core, and that’s all that matters to me right now.
This book was a birthday gift from Lisa and I was so happy when it came in the mail, but now that I’ve actually read it, I can honestly say it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received.


20 comments:

  1. this review made me want it more
    gr8 review

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  2. It does a very talented author to invoke such emotion in their reader. This one clearly did that for you and now I'm super curious about this book. I read "Raw Blue" courtesy of Missie and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm almost sure that I'll enjoy this one too.

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  3. I'm not sure if I'll like this book... I love atmosphere sometimes (as in The Scorpio Races) but in general I'm a very logical person. I think I will try Night Beach out though because you praised it so highly, I want to see what it's like myself. Great review!

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  4. Gosh, the way you wrote this review, Maja, is absolutely breathtaking. I can definitely feel the amount of admiration you have for the book and it's amazing. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention, Maja! I probably would've never heard of it if it weren't for your wonderful review. <3

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  5. Wow! Astonishing review gir! I have read some not so great reviews on this and I am guessing it is due to the strange ending. I can only imagine the range of emotions this generated within you. I love books that touch your soul and change you. I have a feeling that as you move into your next read you will have threads clinging and tugging at you from this book.

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  6. Yay!! I'm so glad that this was so perfect for you. It seems like everyone either loves this book or hates it, doesn't it? Frankly I'm shocked that I ended up on the loving it side! But I'm so glad I did because now I get to gush about this book with you. :) How creepy was that scene with the hair?!! I got so emotional when she was eating her hopes too - but for me it was like they had been buried all that time in the box and only now was she acknowledging them and letting some of them go. :'-( The ending just blew me away. Love this review so much, Maja!

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    1. Hah! See? It totally is like interpreting a dream! Or trying to understand a painting. Everyone sees what they need to see. The hair thing really got to me too, and Pinty! Pinty was so creepy.
      The ending really got to me too. Just when you think you know what's going on, she makes you question everything.

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  7. Oh my sweet goodness. You compared this to The Scorpio Races; you compared this to The Space Between. I am SOLD! I don't think I've seen anything about this book around the blogosphere yet and certainly nothing as convincing as this -- and I probably wouldn't have ever found it by myself. But it sounds like one of THOSE books (those AMAZING books), and I just love it when you forget that you're reading a book because everything feels so real to you. It may make it easier to break your heart, but it also makes it even more worth it! :')

    Absolutely beautiful review, Maja! <3

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  8. I have heard SOOOOO many great things about Kirsty Eagar, and I just can't take it any longer. That's it. I'm wishlisting her books! Lol. I'd probably go buy them myself if I could work it into the budget at the moment, but they'll have to wait for now. Still, I'm SO glad to hear that this one hit you where it counts, Maja! :)

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  9. I've actually wanted to read this for a while now after all the great things I've heard about the author. Your review is more than convincing! Don't you just love it when a book truly makes you feel? It sounds like you had a pretty unforgettable experience reading this book. I can't wait to get around to it myself now. Absolutely fantastic review, Maja! :)

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  10. EEEEEEEEEE MAJA! I got this book for review and the author's Aussie so that's a win but I haven't read it! I've heard great things about Eagar's Raw Blue (pretty sure you've read and loved it?) so I need to read Night Beach SOON! <3

    Awesome review, Maja! <3 So glad you enjoyed it!

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  11. Oh wow. That review was totally beautiful and intense, Maja. I've never heard of this book before, but I'm definitely going to get a copy for myself. This seems like such a powerful and symbolic book and since it's evoked all kinds of emotions from you, I'm going to give the book a shot.
    I think this is my favorite review of yours.
    Wonderful review, Maja. :)

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  12. Beautiful review, beautiful excerpt, and what looks like a beautiful, beautiful book. I don't know what they're feeding those Australian authors, but whatever it is, I want some of it.

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  13. What a fantastic review Maja. I'm not familiar with this book but I definitely want to know more about it now.

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  14. You make this sound so amazing. Great review... I can't wait to read this now. :)

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  15. Kirsty just sent me this book and I'm so excited to read it. I remember reading a review for it on Readventurer, and being a bit worried I might have a hard time following it, but your review made me feel more confident that the story might not be lost on me after all.

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  16. Awesome review Maja. How nice of Lisa to give it to you for your birthday! Not sure if this is the type of book I'd want to read. I've heard some things about the end.

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  17. Whoa, looks like you really loved this one, Maja! And so thoughtful of Lisa to send it as a gift. It's already on my wishlist because I really enjoyed reading Raw Blue, I just have to find a way to get it.

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  18. I just heard this book yesterday now I'm blogging it right now. This must be a sign.

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  19. I so need to read this. Have you read Melina Marchetta (another literary Aussie other). What does maja mean?

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