Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington (@JessShirvington)

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington
Publication Date: August 7, 2014
Published: Orchard Books
Source: eARC from Netgalley

My Rating:

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?
A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives - this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience.

Many thanks to Netgalley who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Can you imagine living two lives? Not metaphorically, but two physical lives, where you lived each day twice, with different friends, family, surroundings? On some level it sounds awesome, right? Let Sabine tell it and it's exhausting. After reading Between the Lives I could see her point.

Every night at midnight Sabine goes through a "shift" that transports her from one life to the next. She's established a routine that works for her and allows her to live seamlessly, if not even invisibly, in both worlds. That is until the rules somehow change, and Sabine is left wondering if perhaps there is a way for her to live just one life. This leads to the list...

When I started this book I wasn't prepared for the angst lurking within it's pages. The list brings about a dangerous path that Sabine must follow in order to right her life. More than once I stopped to mentally chastise her for being so reckless, all while rooting her on, too. Despite seeing the appeal to both of her lives, I ultimately liked Sabine and wanted her to be happy. In fact, the only characters I didn't really care for in this book was her father in Roxbury and Dex. I felt like both alpha males were a touch cliched.

Speaking of characters I liked, Ethan was right at the top of my list. When he and Sabine first met, I was instantly drawn to his bite, and really appreciated that he wasn't the typical "bad boy" love interest we so often see. He just was, and he was wonderful.

His and Sabine's love story, however, eh. It seemed to happen so fast that if you weren't paying attention you might have missed it. In the end it was beautiful, if not poetic, but it reminded me very much of another popular YA, one that recently hit the big screen. I found myself hoping that this formula won't become the norm.

The writing flowed effortlessly and the end was full of welcomed twists - a few that I saw coming, a few I did not. Dex and Ethan both shattered me, in completely different, devastating ways that worked for Sabine's story. I was sad to see it come to a close, but the ending was gratifying, making Between the Lives a worthwhile stand-alone tale.

Until Next Time!

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