I didn’t think I would like Between the Lives. I don’t know why. Maybe because the only other books Jessica Shirvington has written are a series about angels, which is SO not my thing. And even though the plot of THIS book – about a girl living two parallel lives – sounded interesting, I probably let the anti-angel thing colour my judgment a bit. I wasn’t even going to read Between the Lives. Then I saw some positive reviews from bloggers I trust, and I decided to give it a go.
I’m glad I did, because this was such a great read. That will teach me to be Judgey McJudgerson! Sure, it was a little bit telly-not-showy in places, but overall it was a compelling and unique story. While initially I was dubious about the world building, my judgments once again proved too quick and in the end everything was explained to my satisfaction. There were still some things left mysterious, but I thought that made sense considering the main character, Sabine, didn't fully understand everything herself. The reader doesn't know any more than she does – which is that for as long as she can remember, she’s been “switching” between two different lives. She hasn’t been able to tell anyone – until she meets Ethan.
Now, when Ethan first appeared, I still had my massive Judgey pants on and was ready to roll my eyes at what looked like just another clichéd YA romance. Once again, I was wrong. Ethan and Sabine's love story did not play out how I initially expected it to at all. While I still guessed what was going to happen before it did, I found I was really interested in where these characters were going. Their relationship was quite touching and actually really got under my skin. To the point where over a week later I still catch myself thinking about the two of them and their stories.
There was some really lovely moments in Between the Lives, but there was also some incredibly brutal and emotional scenes. Fair warning, there is some violence which is quite sickening. There’s a lot of heartache, too. Shirvington definitely doesn't shy away from heavy subjects. Ultimately, though, this story featuring a girl with two lives is quite life-affirming. It’s about how we make meaning in each day and what we do to make our lives count. Even if we only get to live one.
|Willa Holland as Sabine|
|A younger Jay Ryan as Ethan|
Published: May 2013, HarperCollins.
Get It: Bookworld