Jessica Warman – Between (Reading Challenge – A Young-adult book)

Jessica betweenElizabeth Valchar is you typical „popular, rich mean girl” from Hollywood movies. She’s beautiful, has a group of friends that are similar to her, and a loving boyfriend. Her parents even let her have a party on a yacht. And during that party she hears a noise that nobody else can hear. She goes to check what it was and what she sees changes her life.

                I picked this book because of some recommendation on Internet. I read the description and somehow thought that this was going to be a superhero story, or a story about haunting, about a person who for some mysterious – and supernatural – reason becomes invisible to everyone. I even fantasized everyone would forget that she ever existed and she has to find out why. The reality was this: she’s dead. Fell out of a yacht on the day of her 18th birthday, and now she’s trapped between worlds and has to find out why – and what happened when she died.

                I have to admit I was a little disappointed with this, mainly because the idea of ghosts wandering this Earth to “end some unfinished business” is not quite original. The other thing was that this book at the beginning seemed pretty boring to me. There were a lot of repetitions, and descriptions that I found unnecessary. The book is written in first person narration, and in present tense. As much as I love the former, I usually (with a few exceptions) get impatient with the present tense. In this case, I had a feeling that it made the book drag on for too long. Together with repetitions, that is. Another thing were scenes at school, which seemed too common.

                That being said, the book got more interesting later on. It turned out to be a mixed genre – a young adult book with elements of ghost story, mystery, love and drama. The novel follows Liz as she watches her friends deal with her death, and as she tries to remember her life. I think her temporary amnesia was a nice touch, and allowed us, as readers, to uncover the truth together with Liz. Also the characters were well-crafted, and as much as I disliked Liz, she was a much more complex person than was showing at the first glance. Most of the others also stood out for themselves, and seemed very real.

                On the whole, I have to admit I enjoyed it, despite a slow beginning. It’s a story about grief, tragedy, complexity of human nature, and families. Finally, it’s a story about forgiveness, towards others – but also ourselves. I’d recommend it, especially to younger generation. It is, after all, about teenagers, and has a lot of cliché teenage behaviors.

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