Thursday, October 27, 2011
Author: Jessica Warman
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: August 2nd, 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5 HEARTS
Received ARC for Review from Publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads
Elizabeth Valchar--pretty, popular, and rich--wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday on the yacht where she'd been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead.
Liz has no memory of what happened to her and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.
Soon she's joined by Alex, a boy killed by a hit-and-run driver the year before, and the two sets out to piece together her life. But their small coastal town is hiding many secrets and soon Liz will find that no one around her, least of all herself, was perfect-or innocent.
Between is a haunting, all-consuming character study of how one girl chose to live her life and the things she discovers after her death.
At the start of the novel we're introduced to Liz, a snotty, rich, mean girl who's life seems all but perfect till she discovers her own dead body floating in the water. Together with Alex, another ghost, Liz must figure out what happened the night she died and what kind of person she truly was.
I have NEVER, EVER liked a mean girl in a YA book before. Even after her death Liz is rude, selfish and entitled, I shouldn't care that she died, but I do. Through the use of flashbacks, which are interwoven throughout the novel, we get a deeper understand of Liz and how she ended up the way she did. It doesn't really justify the awful things she said or did to people, but I do think it helps you understand her better. There is a redeeming quality to Liz (you do root for her) and its wonderful to see how she starts to listen and learn from Alex.
Alex is shy, sensitive and awkward, everything Liz is not. He's the perfect companion for her, showing her how her actions in life effected others, most notably him. He isn't afraid to be tough on her and though their interactions could be hostile at times, there's also a nice kinship there.
While she was alive Liz surrounded herself by a popular clique of friends and a wealthy family. After her death everyone begin to fall apart revealing their secrets, lies and betrayals. Richie (Liz's boyfriend and Caroline (best friend) held the biggest surprises for me and through their eyes you get a much larger picture of who Liz was.
The novel's pacing isn't very quick focusing more on character interaction then building up suspense, though there are plenty of twists and turns. Although one key plot point was easy to predict, it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the novel. The ending was wrapped up well and felt perfect for this kind of story.
Between is so much more then just a mystery about a dead girl. Its about the people who shape use, the decisions we make and the ability to change. I look forward to reading more books by Jessica Warman, she has a distinct YA voice and an incredible knack for encompassing you in her novel's world. I would highly recommend the book to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman or any who enjoys YA contemps. Its not a contemporary but it sure reads like one.