Between by Jessica Warman
Release Date – August 2, 2011
Publisher – Bloomsbury
Pages - 464
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - at BEA for an honest review
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th 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. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.
She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.
In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out...
When we meet Liz she’s already dead. She’s drown while celebrating her 18th birthday. She was the popular girl, the type of girl that always had perfect clothes and makeup. She’s not thrilled to be dead and even less happy that she can’t remember anything about what happened to her.
The premise of this novel reminded me a little of The Lovely Bones, while they do have some things in common they are quite different.
The fact that Liz can not remember much is a great way to introduce the back story of these characters. As Liz is recalling details of her life, and the events that led up to her death the reader is also able to discover them along with her. This means we only have as much information as Liz does, and it works for this type of story.
The writing style in this book is easy to read, and simple. I did find myself having to be extra aware of when events were taking place. The flashbacks and mixed in with things that are currently happening and it’s easy to get a little lost.
The characters are wonderfully written. I ended up really liking Liz. She was the type of girl that I would have not like in high school, but through her story we see how confused, damaged and how different she wished things could be. She grows as a character as she pieces her life together.
The other main character in the book Alex was wonderful. He was considered a “loser” by Liz and her friends. They barely noticed him when he was alive and attended high school with them. He was very sweet, forgiving, and just a nice guy. I liked the friendship that began to happen between he and Liz during the course of their time together. Alex, at the time of the story, has been dead for about a year. When Liz dies he greets her and together they begin to piece together what happened to both of them.
This leads me to the twists in the story. There were some twists that I did not see coming. Things are connected in ways that I didn’t even begin to guess at. I liked the murder mystery aspect of the book as we never really know (until the end that is) what happened that night on the boat. Did Liz fall? Was she murdered? Was it an accident? I love a good mystery and while I could sense certain things, I never fully guessed what happened.
The other characters in the book were as well developed as the main two. I especially liked Liz’s boyfriend Richie. Liz’s father was heartbreaking to read about. Getting to see him go through the grief of losing his daughter, and knowing that he also lost his wife really made you feel for him.
I recommend this book if you are in the mood for a decent mystery, and a more serious novel. There is a thread of hope throughout the novel, but it is a more emotional read.