BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER By Elizabeth Scott [Review]

BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER is a book that constantly leaves you wanting to reach in and give the protagonist a reassuring hug. Sixteen year old Abby has always felt she can’t quite measure up to her older sister Tess, the pride of her family, the town, the envy of all the girls and the obsession of all the guys. But now, after a car accident, Tess is in a coma, and all Abby wants her to do is wake up so life can go back to normal.

The depth of Abby’s sense of inadequacy is heart breaking; she doesn’t whine about Tess’ rock star status, just truly, deeply believes no one could want her instead of her sister. Even as Tess lies lifeless in a hospital bed she’s sure Eli, an incredibly cute boy working at the hospital, would prefer Tess over her. So Abby convinces Eli to come and talk to Tess everyday, sure that Tess will hear his voice and wake up so they can be together. Pretty magnanimous of her considering her budding crush on Eli, as well as the blow she was dealt by the last boy she liked who could never love her like he loved her sister.

From the very beginning of the novel there’s a secret that bubbles just below the surface. Tess has a million gentleman callers, but always finds fault before it turns into a relationship. She had a falling out with her best friend when the friend got pregnant, a girl she had been completely inseparable from for years and lives on the same street, but whom she no longer even speaks about. That best friend alludes to a past love, a hard love, but won’t tell Abby who it was, simply that it was not her baby’s father. The reveal to the readers in exact words, and Abby’s realization of the secret, comes at the very end, and because she comes to it on her own, not seeing any new clues just seeing them differently, it seems strange she didn’t pick up on it earlier.

The portrait of Abby and Tess’ parents is very interesting, not flat villains or sources of comfort, but two broken people trying to hold it together for Tess and Abby, who had seen a lot of tragedy when they were young. I liked that their specific emotional wounds were kept a little vague, too much back story would have cluttered the book, it was enough to know their daughter’s accident wasn’t the first hardship they had suffered.

The romance of Between Here and Forever is so drawn out it’s painful, but it’s a good kind of tension, the kind that has the reader wanting to yell, “Just kiss him already” (or that might just be me, I really get into a book). Still, by the novel’s end I was satisfied as with the romance’s conclusion.

Between Here and Forever is full of sadness and confusion, but isn’t without hope. You’ll come away feeling a sequel about Abby would have a lot more joy.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Simon Pulse | Pages: 250 | Source: BEA | Buy on Amazon

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