Soulprint, by Megan Miranda (Bloomsbury, YA, Feb. 3, 2015), is a thriller/mystery/adventure with a fascinating twist--reincarnation is real, your soul can be tracked from rebirth to rebirth, and what your past self has done, you might have to pay for.
For no one this is more true than for 17-year-old Alina Chase. She has been imprisoned on an island and separated from her family because of what her past self, a young woman named June, did. June asked whether those who were reincarnations of violent criminals were more likely to commit violent crimes themselves, and when the results of her study were published, showing an 0.8 likelihood that this was the case, a maelstrom broke out. Kids were attacked for the crimes of their past lives, the ethics of this knowledge were the subject of fierce debate, and June was the lightning rod at the center of the storm.
But then it became clear that this information was being used for blackmail...and June became a wanted fugitive and was ultimately killed. And her soul was tracked...and Alina was found, and imprisoned, lest she continue what June had begun.
Then Alina is broken free from her island prison by three teens, each with their own agenda. In the outside world, Alina soon finds that she herself has a mission--she is determined to follow a series of clues that June has left, and find out for herself just who June was, and what she did. Pursued by the government, and up against shadier figures determined to stop her, she has to rely on the three strangers who freed her.
One is a computer genius. One is someone who turns out not to be a stranger at all. And one she falls in love with....
The fascinating speculation about reincarnation at the heart of the book--a real zinger of a nature vs nurture/free will vs destiny question--was something I enjoyed lots. Alina has lived all her life in June's shadow, and wrestles with how much of June she is doomed to repeat. Is she herself, or not?
And the pages turned quickly as the path to the truth (a rather dangerous path) unfolded. Always just a few steps away from capture, Alina has to come to terms with the fact that her rescuers didn't do it for her sake, but for their own reasons....and so, while staying free and finding the truth are the main driving forces of the events that follow, Alina also has to decide just who she can trust.
I felt that the story could have been compressed just a tad--I wanted the resolution to come more briskly than it did (and once all the internal questions had been resolved, I found I was not so interested in the external ones, but that's a matter of personal taste). On the other hand, the length of the story did give Alina time to develop a more realistic romantic relationship, so there's that.
In any event, I think plenty of teens who enjoy a solid speculative fiction romance will enjoy it just fine.
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.