I received this book for free from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Alina Chase has been contained her whole life on a private island – cared for, but not cared about. Because she has inherited the soul of a notorious teen criminal, June Calahan. And the world fears June has left instructions for Alina to continue what she started – throwing the world into chaos.
Wowser! The worldbuilding in this was so subtle and intense. Souls are an actual thing, and soulprints – like fingerprints – can be determined by testing the spinal fluid. Alina inherited the soul of someone the world was terrified of, someone the press believed had too much power and was blackmailing innocent people about who their past lives were. The whole idea was built on a study that claimed souls inherit evil, just like talent and left-and-right-handedness, but not memories. People started punishing others for what they did in a previous life. A soulprint is supposed to be secret – Alina is special: her soulprint was taken when she was a baby. Her soul is public knowledge, and she’s contained ‘for her own protection’ because of it.
Alina was an amazing character. I really feel like I got to know her. She wanted to be different to June, so she forced herself to become left-handed, even though left-and-right-handedness is something a soul inherits. She shunned things June was good at – maths, coding – in favour of learning other skills. She hoped that if she showed she was different to June, the authorities might decide they’d made a mistake – despite being tested (and matched) for the soulprint three times. Alina was strong even when she was terrified, brave even when she was helpless, loyal and trusting but not in a dumb way – she wouldn’t be fooled by certain characters. She was smart enough to read people, and I loved watching her decipher every little movement, every word said, as she got to the truth.
So there’s three major relationships in this book that I loved. The first was between Alina and the typical bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold Cameron. The second was between Cameron and his older sister, Casey. The third was between Casey and Alina. THE BEST KIND OF LOVE TRIANGLE. Cameron and Casey have their own reasons for helping Alina escape, but I loved watching the slow burn of her relationship with Cameron heat up until I was sure I was going to explode along with them. I loved Cameron and Casey’s bond, their own language and their comfort with each other. And I loved the complicated relationship with Casey that often teetered on the brink of falling apart because of Alina’s entanglement with Cameron.
My favourite line:
Cameron kills me with his honesty.
And I also need to add a spoiler because I got one-third of the way through this novel and went looking for the one spoiler nobody mentioned!(show spoiler)
Soulprint is a ridiculously strong novel. The slower pace of the opening pages leaves plenty of room for world-and-character building until you feel like you know the characters inside out. The romance was a swoony slow burn. I don’t generally do book boyfriends but Cameron’s going on my shelf. It’s a psychological thriller with plenty of philosophical debate about the nature of the soul. The writing is beautiful and there are sentences to swoon over as well. It’s got everything a YA contemporary/hint of sci-fi lover could want. Just read it!