AUTHOR: Jessica Warman
PAGES: 464 (Hardcover)
I have no idea why I bought this book, I’d seen it before, but had shelved it under ‘don’t-bothers’. For some reason though because I was desperate to buy something, I picked it up in Target, and now I’m not entirely sure if I did the right thing. I did enjoy it, it’s an intriguing idea that’s surprisingly well written, but straight after I didn’t give another thought to it, when for me a sign of a good book is that it generates some type of mental and emotional impact.
Between is an afterlife themed book, where a teenage girl wakes up on the morning of her 18th birthday to find her own body next to the boat she was partying on. Unfortunately for this girl, Liz, she can’t remember a thing from the last year, let alone last night, and so with the help of fellow inbetweener Alex, who was killed in a hit and run over a year ago, she must try to piece together her life and how she ended up like this.
Whilst reading Between I only really connected emotionally with four characters – Liz, Alex, Liz’s boyfriend and local drug dealer Richie (barely) and Liz’s step sister Josie. Though initially it was hard to like Liz with her ignorant arrogance and egotistical, remarkably blunt statements, I felt myself warming to her over the course of the book. To me, she was like a small child, completely oblivious to anything outside of her own world, yet only because she didn’t know any better. I liked how you could actually see Liz grow and change as things unfolded before her, her transition from a spoilt princess to mature(rer) young woman was cleverly cultivated and a definitely pro for the book as a whole.
The mystery was very well done: at first, even I believed that Liz’s death was maybe just a freak accident. But as things began unravelling and threads got tangled up all over the place, I saw little pieces of the puzzle that could only point to murder. I normally pride myself on being sharp when it comes to these things, yet I didn’t seem to gain a strong confidence in one particular suspect until the last hundred pages or so. I must admit, when justice was finally served and she/he got what was coming, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction that they were going down.
One thing that really grated on my nerves was that even before Liz’s death, everyone else was just so utterly clueless. For instance: Richie, he surely couldn’t believe that she would cheat on him, would do that, with a guy like Vince? And when Liz started running for over thirty miles a day, consuming almost nothing and fainting because of hunger, all anybody did was go ‘Ooh, maybe she should see a psychiatrist. No, you don’t want to? Okay then’ and continue on like everything was fine and dandy. It WASN’T, anybody could see that.
And when she did die, they were all upset because they ‘never saw it coming to such a popular, young, and happy girl’. Yeah right. You didn’t have to be particularly close to her to see there were some major problems going on in her life.
To be clear: This isn’t a feel good novel, it isn’t the sort of thing you’re going to want to pick up for a light and easy read. It contains some themes more suited to adult fiction, and it tackles some very real issues that affect many people today. Between is a sinister, reflective read about finding the truth and moving on, and although it was entertaining enough it wasn’t a stand out for me. Sounds like your cup of tea? Fine, go for it, but next time I may stick with my gut.