BETWEEN By Jessica Warman [Review]

This might be a spoiler, but BETWEEN is about a dead girl. And I don’t really feel like it’s a big deal to reveal that fact since we find out at the end of the first chapter.

Liz Valchar dies on the night of her eighteenth birthday and spends the next few months navigating life in between two worlds–life and death–while trying to piece together her existence. What she finds isn’t flattering as she sees herself the way others saw her. With the help of a classmate who had died the previous year, Liz works to solve the mystery that surrounds her death.

I liked this book, even for all its shortcomings. It was like watching your own murder mystery unfold.

The story seemed sporadic. One minute a character would enter and, all of the sudden, he was gone and I couldn’t figure out the exit. I also felt like there was a lot of time spent on Liz reliving her live–scenes I enjoyed–but a lot could have been shortened or removed since they were merely superfluous.

When Liz wakes up after her death, it’s as if her memory has died, too. She can’t remember who she was, what she did, how she died, or anything about her life. The more she searches for answers, the more memories come back to her, and the more detestable she becomes to herself. This point of view is interesting, the idea that a person’s nature is completely different the minute they lose their very essence. It suggests that people are innately good, though circumstances and people shape their entire character. Dead Liz is kind and compassionate, but in life she was completely opposite. We’re left wondering had circumstances been different, would she have turned out the way she did? And if she had years left to live, would she have changed?

There’s a lot of suspense built on Liz and her stepsister, Josie. It’s a rumor that Liz’s father and Josie’s mother had an affair; Josie being the result. Josie is convinced that they’re really half-sisters, though Liz doesn’t put much stock into it, and at times the book revolves around this point. I thought that the sister complex was handled all wrong. It’s what the entire plot hinges upon, yet it felt really shallow.

Overall, the concept was interesting enough to keep me entertained, although I don’t foresee this being a future re-read.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Walker Childrens | Pages: 464 | Source: BEA (Book Expo America) | Buy on Amazon

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