Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Between by Jessica Warman

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2182-2

Publisher: Walker Children's

Source: Library

Summary: Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

When I first heard about Between, I had very little desire to read it. After the hype and ensuing disappointment that was The Lovely Bones (I'm sure it's well written, it just was not for me), I was hesitant to read another girl-dies-and-looks-on-from-the-hereafter. Upon reading a few reviews of Warman's book, I discovered this tale from beyond the grave was actually a mystery story, not just a weird, cloudy account of a dead girl's observations of life without her. I changed my mind and picked it up.
I am so happy that I changed my mind.
Between tells the story of Elizabeth Valchar, a girl that wakes up after her 18th birthday to her own dead body and the task of figuring out who killed her. She is joined by Alex Berg, a slightly younger guy from her school who had died two years prior. Elizabeth and Alex take a tour through the living room and their own memories in order to discover the secrets of their deaths.
Between ended up being one of the best young adult mysteries I have ever read. Warman withheld a significant amount of information about Elizabeth's and Alex's stories, dealing out bits and pieces in each chapter and causing a strong desire within me to read continuously (which explains why I read the entire book in a day).
One of the best parts of the entire book was its cast of characters. Elizabeth Valchar is a well-rounded, likeable protagonist. Memories of her mother, her father, and her feelings for Richie created a good deal of sympathy for a character that could have easily come off as a one-dimensional spoiled brat. Alex is not simply an omniscient spirit guide for Elizabeth, rather he has his own personality and memories. Most importantly, he is still a teenage boy and acts like one. The rest of Elizabeth's friends are all given a depth that I definitely did not expect, especially her friend Caroline.
I'll say it again: Between is one of the best teen mysteries I have ever read. Elizabeth's journey through her life and afterlife is both gripping and saddening due to Warman's crafty and mysterious storytelling. A must read!

Rating: 4.5 - awesome

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