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Book review: Teen tries to save a young woman a 2nd time in Whitney Award finalist 'Beyond the Rising Tide'

"BEYOND THE RISING TIDE," by Sarah Beard, Sweetwater Books, $18.99, 304 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

In "Beyond the Rising Tide," author Sarah Beard weaves a story that begins with an ending.

Kai is 17, dead and uses a bracelet to heal a boy who has been thrown from a car during an accident. Kai spends his days saving people — fitting, since he was saving someone when he died six months ago, and he doesn’t regret it. But all he thinks about is Avery, the teen girl who he saved, and he can’t seem to stay away from her.

Avery doesn’t know who the boy is who saved her when she almost drowned while surfing, but it torments her daily. She can’t contact his family to let them know what happened to him, she has no one to thank for the gift of her life, and going in the water again is out of the question.

As Avery struggles to get back to normal after her brush with death and her parents' separation, she doesn't know that she has gained a guardian angel — one who would do anything to help her regain her confidence, even if it means endangering his ability to visit the Earth.

Kai forms a plan to help Avery, but it would mean breaking a few rules of his assignment and his life going from the afterworld's waiting place and Earth. Not everything is as predictable as he thought it would be. While the boy-falls-in-love-with-girl storyline of the book is a bit predictable, the elements that the story is built on are original and imaginative.

There is no swearing, and the growing romance in the storyline doesn't go beyond kissing. While Beard describes Kai’s former family life as abusive and dysfunctional, it is described generally and doesn't go beyond small details denoting drug use and violence.

Beard is the author of two young adult books and has a degree in communications from the University of Utah. “Beyond the Rising Tide” is a 2016 Whitney Award finalist in the speculative young adult fiction category. The awards recognize the work of authors who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Megan Jensen is a BYU graduate, mom, writer and avid traveler. Her website is