I love the concept of Soul Beach, the idea of some kind of virtual world where your soul goes after you die isn't one I haven't come across before and although it's creepy it is also fascinating. The beach is portrayed as perfect but for the "Guests" they soon start to get bored of doing the same thing day in and day out, I have to say I don't think I'd want to spend much time there!
Alice is struggling to deal with the aftermath of her sister's murder. The police haven't found Megan's killer and her family is falling apart around her so when she realises she can keep in contact with Megan through Soul Beach she jumps at the chance of spending time with her. The more time Alice spends with Megan and her friends the more real the virtual world becomes, soon Alice is obsessed with spending time there and starts to push away her school friends. It is easy for the reader to see that Alice is spending an unhealthy amount of time with her sister and it makes you think about how hard it would be to let someone go if you were still able to contact them.
I enjoyed the mystery side to the story, Alice is trying to work out who killed her sister but she is also investigating the cause of Megan's friend Triti's death. I did find myself frustrated at the end of the book when I was left with so many unanswered questions, I hadn't realised until then that this is the first book in a trilogy though so at least I know there are more books to come. I have had my suspicions about so many different characters when it comes to who killed Megan that I really have no idea who it will turn out to be!
I did have a problem believing how real Soul Beach became to Alice, she mentioned feeling the breeze and the spray from the ocean on her face but really she was sitting in her room in front of her laptop. I was also frustrated with the romance, why do the main characters always have to fall for the one person the can't have? I'd have preferred no romance to the one we got, or I'd have been happy to see a romance start to develop between Alice and Lewis. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how things progress in the next book.
If you're looking for something completely different then I'd definitely recommend giving Soul Beach a try. The story is fairly fast paced and despite being a long book it was a quick and enjoyable read.