Night beach by Kirsty Eager
Penguin Group Australia, 2012. 315 pgs., p/b. ISBN 9780143206552.
(Age: 15+) 'Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless.'
Night beach is a dark and mysterious story narrated by Abbie, a normal 17 year old girl who lives with her mother, stepfather and her 21 year old step cousin Kane. Abbie has three main obsessions; Surfing, Art and Kane. There is something cagey and different about Kane since returning from a surfing trip to Indonesia. Abbie wants to know what happened whilst Kane was away and why he is so different. Abbie's Art project is an important part of this book and her obsessive thinking about Kane combined with her need to create an art project is intertwined by the author to create a sequence of disturbing experiences for Abbie.
The story started well, having me hooked in the first chapter because of the surfing. With Eager herself a surfer, the dialogue is very descriptive, setting the surfing scenes superbly. The plot is generally plausible and easy to follow. It lost me a little in the middle but kept me wanting with the mystery of Kane and what happened while he was away. The way Eager doesn't reveal too much early in the story keeps you hanging, making this book difficult to put down at times.
Night Beach is a great read for ages 15+ and although this coming of age story is targeted at teenagers it also suits an adult audience. Abbie's powerful infatuation and yearning for a boy is a typical storyline for the intended age group, and the ensuing issues and language usage is suitable. If you enjoy mysteries and paranormal stories and are interested in surfing and art you will find this book very appealing. The story did leave me with some uncertainty but it does do well in luring you in and forcing you to think.