About Sarah Beard
Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels PORCELAIN KEYS and BEYOND THE RISING TIDE. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing from VCFA. When she's not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.
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Why are the barriers between life and death so interesting?
By Sarah Beard
People have always been fascinated with the barrier between life and death, because it’s one we’ll all have to cross at some point. As Benjamin Franklin said, the only certain things in life are death and taxes. I think it’s a barrier people find so interesting because the vast majority of the time, once we cross it, we never return. Save for those who’ve had near death experiences, none of us really know what to expect when we die.
We can speculate based on our beliefs or on the accounts of those who claim to have visited the afterlife, but until we actually face it ourselves, we really don’t know what it will be like. How it will feel, what all our senses will experience, and who we’ll meet on the other side. I spent a lot of time thinking about these things a few years ago while I was going through cancer treatment, because when my doctor first gave me my prognosis, it wasn’t encouraging. Never before had my mortality felt so fragile and temporary, and it forced me to evaluate my own beliefs about the afterlife.
I found a great book that’s full of different accounts of life after death experiences (Life Everlasting by Duane S. Crowther) which I found both fascinating and comforting. Years later, however, when I began writing Beyond the Rising Tide, I really struggled at first with how I should portray the afterlife. I didn’t want it to come off as presumptive or preachy, so in the end I constructed something from my own imagination that was different from anything I’d read. And I’m so happy with the way it turned out, because although the world I created is entirely fictional, it still reflects one important thing I believe. And that is our freedom to choose between happiness and misery in both this life and the next.
Review by Anniek
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Review by Anniek
Avery has been struggling after she nearly drowned in the ocean. She lived and the boy who saved her life had to give up his own. Avery can't remember his face and his body has never been found. She is consumed with guilt because of his family, who have no idea what happened to him. Avery's going through all online databases looking for boys who have been reported missing and maybe just maybe she will find him there.
Avery has always been a carefree, thrill-seeking girl. She is good at so many sportive things like rock climbing, jumping of cliffs and surfing. There is no place where she feels more at peace than in or near the ocean. Ever since the accident she hasn't been able to go into the water, she's barely been able to make it onto the beach. Her boyfriend broke up with her because he finds it too much of a burden to deal with her sadness. Her best friend keeps trying to get her out of the house, because she wants Avery to feel alive again.
Kai gave his life to save Avery's and he would do it again in a heartbeat. Since his death he is a ghost with a special job. He can heal the mortally injured, so they can live, but only the ones he is assigned to save. He has been with Avery for months now. Even though Avery can't see him he can't stay away from her. It pains him to watch her struggle and to witness her guilt. When an opportunity presents itself to, just for a little while, walk the land of the living again he can't resist. Kai needs to make sure that Avery knows that it is all right to start living again.
Avery is such a sweetheart. She helps her mom who is mentally unstable and she also works many hours in her father's chocolate shop. Avery is loyal and loving towards her family and I really liked that about her. I felt so sorry for her because of the guilt she feels and the difficulties she has to get past what happened to her.
Kai hasn't had an easy childhood. When his mother died and his father went to prison his two younger sisters were taken in by his aunt and uncle. They didn't take him in, so he went into foster care instead. Kai is a responsible young teenager with a beautiful voice and a real talent for music. He touched my heart with the help he's giving to his family and Avery.
After reading the first few lines of Beyond the Rising Tide I was hooked:
'I don't know how it's decided, who lives and who dies. Why some are granted more time among the living, and others are snatched away into the land of the dead. All I know is that tonight, a decision has been made. And of the two critically injured people sprawled on the highway, I've been assigned to save only one.'
The second page had me in tears and I was captivated by every single line of this beautiful heart wrenching story. Sarah Beard has told her story in a truthful and accurate way. Her writing is so vivid that I felt like I was sitting on the beach and I could almost smell the salty air of the ocean. The characters all get the attention they need for the reader to connect to them and I could easily understand where they were coming from. Beyond the Rising Tide moved me from the beginning. It's a story that touched my heart and will stay with me for a very long time.