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Westlake Soul

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  60 reviews
"All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag . . ."

Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you t
ebook, 1st Edition, 250 pages
Published April 15th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 458)
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Kealan Burke
An amazing, heartbreaking, inspirational, and incredibly well-written novel. Like a cross between Richard Matheson's WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and Walton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, WESTLAKE SOUL is nothing short of a masterpiece. Nothing more I could say would achieve anything other than ruining the impact. A wonderful piece of work by an author who has shot up to the top of my reading list by virtue of this singular triumph.
Mar 31, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: “All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag. . . .

Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you think he’s just a r
Trev Twinem
Truly brilliant and emotional writing of the highest order.... Westlake Soul dwells in a permanent vegetable state following a surfing accident and he is now lives (if you can call it living) back home with his family. Although he cannot communicate, through his mind and his thoughts we travel with Westlake as he spends what remaining time he has in the presence of those he loves and who in turn love him....there are so many poignant moments in what undoubtedly is a memoir of a young man who con ...more
Egalley thanks to ChiZine Publications
So, I opened this book expecting a light superhero's story. Not so much.

I would never ever look at or think of people who are stuck in a permanent vegetative stage in the same way I used to look them. And that's what this powerful heart wrenching book did to me.

Westlake is a former golden boy, talented surfer and a charming person generally loved by all. He's got a girlfriend whom he loves deeply and who he thinks is his future Mrs. Soul. He's got his best
Timothy Baker
ust finished a pre-release copy of Rio Youers novel, Westlake Soul. I met Rio last year at the World Horror Con in Austin and again at this years WHC in Salt Lake City. Had a great conversation with him sitting in the hotel bar, throwing back beers. Later that night he read from Westlake Soul at the release party. The chapter was titled "On Love". I was stunned and transported. Told him it was starbright and that it had made my trip. Luckily, I picked up on of the few copies.

Westlake Soul is lik
Adam Cesare
Rio Youers’ WESTLAKE SOUL is one of the very few books I’ve ever finished and said to myself “I’m going to read this again some day.” There are just too many books I want to get to, and not enough hours in my life to go re-reading everything I liked. But I didn’t like Westlake Soul, I loved it.

WESTLAKE SOUL is the story of Westlake, a twenty-three year old surfer, who’s put into a persistent vegetative state by a surfing accident. The catch is that the novel is narrated by Westlake himself, he’s
Frank Errington
I first met Rio Youers at 2010 Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA. That day he read from Dark Dreams, Pale Horses and I was instantly a fan. Since then, I've read everything I can get my hands on from this relatively new writer.

Although I discovered Rio at a Horror convention, I wouldn't necessarily call him a Horror writer. Speculative fiction maybe? Actually, he's just a damn fine writer.

Westlake Soul is his best book to date. Westlake is a 23 year old former surfing champion. Now more like
Christina Boulard
Sometimes--it happens very rarely--but sometimes you are privileged enough to read a book that touches your soul.
A book that makes you feel blessed to have experienced it. A book that makes you look at life in a completely different way.
Westlake Soul is one of these books.

Westlake Soul is the story of a man--named Westlake Soul--trapped in his own mind.

After a surfing accident, Westlake's brain suffers too much trauma. He goes into a permanant vegetative state.
Unknown to his loved ones, Westlake
The idea of reading a book about the ramblings of a man in a vegetative state wasn't exciting and this story has rested in my Kindle for months. A weekend trip with no internet or phone service forced me to begin the story. I read it in two sittings. Being a person who believes in possibilities made this book a very enjoyable read. Understanding that it is speculative fiction and not a memoir or a based on any sort of medical reality is essential. If, like myself, you were that person who had to ...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
Excerpt from my review on Shroud Magazine Book Reviews online (

...Every word, every delicate phrase, glows and vibrates with Westlake’s sly and optimistically world-weary voice. Witty, compassionate, and full of life, Westlake is the quintessential fighter—always striving for “more”. Though he is a superhero, he’s not perfect and is still human—which is the entire point. As he powerlessly watches the people he cares about ride out the curls of their lives, Westlake lea
Wow. This book is so interesting, beautiful and so emotionally wrenching. Westlake Soul is a powerful and beautiful book. Westlake Soul the character was layered and his loss was devastating to his family, friends and to the reader. I would like to try this book again when I can be better prepared for the struggles and heartbreak of this cast of characters. Last night I literally cried for over an hour reading this story. I find I have always been a very empathetic reader and often shed a tear o ...more

This is copy 54 of 150 signed numbered hardcover copies.
Kevin Lucia
No idea. You just have no idea. Full review coming soon...
Before I start this review, I want to take a minute to say how awesome the cover of this book is. I partially wanted to pick this up because it deals with a tough subject in a speculative way, but at the same time, the cover really piqued my interest. Nice blend of colors and the character's features. Even so, going into this book, I didn't have a clue who Westlake Soul was. Reading along, I understood that he's supposed to be a superhero of sorts, but trapped in his own body and fighting for th ...more
Feb 15, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thinking meat
Recommended to Alan by: A dry period, a stark color scheme, and a clever back-cover excerpt
This compact and quickly-read novel—I burned through it in less than 24 hours—from a tiny but fierce Canadian fringe press may have a title that's mysterious but awkward, and obscure authors giving it glowing cover recommendations (well, okay, Peter Straub isn't all that obscure, but I'd never heard of the rest of 'em), but Westlake Soul has one thing really going for it right away: a great elevator pitch.

This shows up on page 12 of the book (the second page of the actual story) as well as on th
Damien Walters
A beautifully heartbreaking story!
Nick Cato
(Review coming soon to THE CROW'S CAW)
Benjamin Ethridge
Being a big fan of Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun," and having the chance to hear Rio Youers read the first few chapters of his latest novel, I was primed and ready to like WESTLAKE SOUL.

I ended up being wrong about that part. I didn't just like the novel, but LOVED it. What can I say that hasn't already been said by other readers? It's a masterpiece of elegant, emotional, funny prose that will captivate you from beginning to end. You don't just know the characters in this book, their DNA coils ar
Roxanne Kade
When I first read the synopsis for Westlake Soul, I expected a superhero adventure novel with just a touch of seriousness, but what I got was the total opposite. This book is a non-stop emotional whirlwind that ripped through my heart and left me devastated.

WARNING! Prepare to cry your eyes out!!

The story tells of Westlake Soul, a free-spirited surfer whose entire life changes within a split second. An accident that leaves him in a permanent vegetative state, forces him to watch in painful sil
Gerri Leen
I'm giving this book five stars with one caveat which I will cover later. I can't not give this book five stars. The creativity is off the charts, the book manages to be both lyrical and absolutely current in the language--a neat trick. The characters are deeply moving: the situation is deeply moving. And the craftsmanship is first rate. The story within a story is subtle and the ending ambiguous enough to let you believe what you want to believe happens at the crucial moment.

My caveat would be
Tracie Orsi
I was twelve years old living in New Jersey when the battle over Karen Ann Quinlan's life became headline news. Her case, presented by her parents to the New Jersey Supreme Court, made national news. The court found in favor of the Quinlans to remove the artificial life support from their daughter. Karen Ann Quinlan lived another ten years, dying from pneumonia.

I always wondered if she dreamed.

Then came the fifteen year legal battle over the life of Terri Schindler Schiavo in which her husband f

This is a book that I had to read almost immediately after discovering. You know, there are just some books that are like that. They shoot to the top of your "to read" list because they sound so far out. It definitely lived up to my expectations, dude.

And what this Mr. Quietus represented was awesome. I didn't really realize it until the end. Mr. Quietus represents Death, sure, but there's more to it than that.
Anita Laydon
I give this book five stars for the author's outstanding voice and ingenuity.

The story is the first-person account of a surfer dude's life for the two-ish years following an accident that left him in a vegetative state. Which makes the story sound very drab and depressing...only it's not. I mean, yeah, I cried, if you must know, but I also laughed, and, ultimately, I was left uplifted.

I planned to include paragraphs I particularly loved--things I wished I'd written--but gave up, because there w
Kept me sucked in til the end. Well written, and intricately woven story of how the soul survives when there is love.
Lauren Smith
Westlake Soul is an ambitious project for a writer – a novel about a person who is unable to move or speak. It’s written in first person, from Westlake’s perspective, so the entire story rests on his fragile shoulders. The challenge, I’d say, is to make something interesting out of this limited position. I have to say kudos to author Rio Youers, because for the most part, I think he did a good job.

Read the full review on my blog Violin in a Void
This story is well written. The prose is smooth and imaginative, the emotions evoked complex, and a delicate subject is dealt with gently but intelligently. From a brief skim through the internet, I see there is some controversy about the appropriate way to treat people in the persistent vegetative state. The way the topic is handled in this story is amazing. This story takes us through the controversy, but makes it so excruciatingly human it’s almost unbearable. Emotions are evoked masterfully. ...more
Max Read
“A contemporary vision: of moral dilemma with only a soul”

Rio Youers has drawn praise from some of the most noteworthy names in the speculative fiction genre. He is the author of two novellas, “Mama Fish” (Shroud Publishing) and “Old Man Scratch” (PS Publishing)—the latter earning him a British Fantasy Award nomination in 2010. His novelette, “This is the Summer of Love”, was the title story of PS Publishing’s first new-look “Postscripts” anthology, a publication in which Rio has appeared three
Really love the concept of this book, and a lot of the inner struggle that it tells. I didn't care much for the execution though. A lot of the way the side characters are described is pretty fun... talking animals though made it hard for me to take it seriously.... It's written in short bursts like you are actually sitting in a room with the main character and he's telling you his story- which at first is pretty neat and fun- but the further you get into the story and the darker it gets, the wri ...more
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. - Khalil Gibran

A little over two years ago, Westlake Soul was in a terrible surfing accident. And he suffers a traumatic brain injury. This book is his story, told from a permanent vegetative state, about his life prior to, and especially after, the accident.

As you can imagine, this isn't an easy book to read. The reader not only reads about Westlake's thoughts and feelings but reads about the devastating impact on his family.

Shelley Glassman
I know this is in the horror genre, and in it's own way is horrible, but I loved it because it was incredibly thought-provoking and made me question some of my assumptions. Beautifully written as well!
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