Author: Megan Miranda
Age Range: 12 and up
Soulprint by Megan Miranda is a compelling young adult thriller with a thought-provoking premise. Soulprint features an alternate reality in which scientists have discovered a way to uniquely identify souls. When someone dies, their soul is reborn in a new baby that day. This can be, and is, tracked, even though people do not retain memorize of the former lives of their souls. 17-year-old Alina Chase has spent her entire life as a prisoner, held captive by the sins of her soul's prior lifetime. When mysterious benefactors help her to escape, Alina must uncover a number of mysteries before she will have any chance to actually be free.
I read Soulprint in just a couple of days, finding it a fast-paced and intriguing story. For the most part, I was reading quickly, to find out what would happen next to Alina (who spends much of the book in one form or peril or another). But I would sometimes stop and ponder the underlying questions posed by Miranda's world. If you could learn of the past lives that your soul had lived, would you want to? Would you leave anything behind for your future selves? How much of who we are is nature (inherent) vs. nurture? Would your soul recognize, and fall for, your true love, in a future life? Here's Alina:
"But I know that's impossible. Souls have no memory. But I wonder, for the first time, if they can still be drawn to each other. If we wander restlessly until we find one another again. If some of us are full of a yearning, driving us to keep moving, searching for something we can't quite name." (Chapter 7, ARC)
I found Alina a plausible character. Living as a (relatively pampered) prisoner, with no close social ties, leaves her with a certain lack of social skills. She constantly scours her environment, looking for things that can be converted into weapons. But she is achingly vulnerable, too, wondering about her absent mother, and missing the one caretaker who was ever truly kind to her.
I also liked that Alina has an affinity for math and seeing patterns, while another female character is a top-notch hacker. These are young women who use their brains to solve complex, technical problems. Good stuff!
Beyond that, I will say no more. Soulprint is a story to experience without knowing too much about the details. Recommended for fans of speculative fiction and/or thrillers, particular books in which someone goes on the run. There is some violence, and also some romance, but the real story is Alina's figuring out things about herself. Soulprint is well worth a look!
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (@BWKids)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
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