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.
I love Warman's writing. Her writing is absolutely beautiful.
I really loved the idea of this story. I really enjoyed the story, but I found I couldn't read large portions of the book at once. I really enjoyed the idea of the "between" section between life and Heaven. It was so much fun to read about. I loved the idea of going back into memories in life to figure out what happened and fully remember.
I was also in love with the fact that there was really no romance in the book. Well, I take that back, with secondary characters there was, but there was no romance created between the 2 main characters and that was SO refreshing.
The characters were interesting - Alex and Liz both grew on me as the book went on. At first, I liked them, but I was thinking they were just your average old characters. That was definitely not the case and as the story went on, I liked them more and more. The differences between alive Liz and dead Liz were interesting as it was so clear to see how they were 2 different people. Caroline and Richie were definitely my other 2 favorite characters in the book.
The end was a huge shocker. I thought I had everything figured out and it was going to go off this way, and boom - completely opposite.
This book is a must read. It was very thought provoking and had a marvelous cast of characters. It has become another favorite of mine by the wonderful Jessica Warman.
This is one amazing read. What Liz finds that one fateful morning is shocking. Even more so is how she finds her own memories are cloudy of what lead up to her death. Imagine finding your body and not knowing how you ended up there. Liz is in denial at first until Alex shows up. Problem is he's been dead for almost a year. Also they have nothing in common. He's the nerdy boy no one really knew until his death and she's the popular one. Apparently something links their deaths together. Even a year later no one knows who caused his death. Together they both try to piece together the puzzle behind her own death.
This isn't the typical paranormal tale where the dead girl roams the Earth searching for justice. Instead Elizabeth is able to hear what her so-called friends and family really think of her. Some of the revelations are surprising. For example she finds out how similar she is to her own dead mother on how she copes with stress. Some are not so surprising like the hidden rivalry of her step-sister Josie and how she tries to step right into Liz's spotlight after her death.
The clues are subtle and all start adding up. There's a few twists and turns that surprised me. I stayed up until well after 3am as I had to know who was behind Elizabeth's tragic death. And just when I thought I fingered it out, the author threw another twist into the storyline.
Also the family dynamics of all involved is very interesting. The author cuts through the rich upper class surface to show that they aren't really that much different from everyone else.
I liked how Alex helped Liz try to remember what had happened that night even though they were from totally different worlds. For example Alex's death is marked with a moment of silence at their high school but a year book is passed around as no one really knows who he is. Liz on the other hand has posters and those who weep during her assembly.
At first Liz is shown as shallow and full of herself but this changes as she finds out more and also starts remembering her own past and present. Her character grows and arcs at the end.
This is a moving tale of love, tragedy, and forgiveness. But mostly this is a story of learning to let go. I highly recommend.
Plot: This book will not bore you. Not a single moment. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that a lot of it is flashbacks to important points in her life. Either way, every page brings you closer to the jaw dropping ending. I like that it's an ending you can piece together yourself with subtle hints starting from the very beginning.
Characters: Liz is pretty much you're stereotypical popular girl realizing quite how awful she was. I didn't particularly mind this as much as her realistic-ness. She counts her calories very closely, to approximately 1200 a day, which is a relatively healthy amount for someone who's not active. I count my calories to make sure I eat enough to make up for five hours of running at soccer practice. She says she runs for hours. A four hour run burns 3000 calories. I know the point is she's supposed to be wasting away, but there is no way she had the energy to run day after day without fail with that kind of calorie intake.
Let me just say I loved Alex. I love characters with sass and he never backed down to Liz. He's getting to say everything to the popular b- he would have loved to when they were alive. The thing I loved about him the most is a major plot spoiler, so if you haven't read it, you can skip on down to the next visible text. Those of you that have, just select, highlight the white text in the space below so that you can read it ^_^
When I told my friend the basic plot, she immediately said Alex and Liz were going to fall in love. This was my initial reaction as well, pretty much when they first met. But, I realized there was no way Alex was going to let that happen. Then, as the story moved one, I noticed that Liz staying loyal to Richie and not falling for Alex just proved there was no way she could have cheated on him. (One of the little hints throughout the book).
I liked Caroline, the fifth wheel of the group, so to say. She was the character I could relate to the most, even if it was a little. Topher and Mera were likable enough.
I was on the fence about Josie because I realized who she was almost as soon as the book started. She was a good character though. I liked the mystery surrounding who her father was the whole book. I really had no idea for that one.
Overall: The twists and turns and drops are endless in Between. But, there just wasn't anything especially special about it. I got really into while reading it and I'll be sure to check out the recommendations I get because of it on Goodreads.
First 50 Pages: All I can really say is WOW! Right from the start, this story totally sucked me in and wouldn’t let go. I knew after the very first chapter that I wouldn’t be able to put this book back down, and that is exactly what happened. I sat all day reading this book and ignoring my other pressing matters I had to attend to. But, that’s okay. This book is completely worth the time!
Characters and Plot: The story at its core is essentially a ghost story, but is the most believable and real ghost story I have read in a long time. So many authors will try to write a ghost story and they can’t pull it off well because they put their characters out of touch with reality. They aren’t believable.
Every single character Jessica Warman created in Between could easily step out of the book and be someone you know. Take the character Liz for example: She is popular, perfect, and pretty. Oh, and she is rich. And she acts the part of a total snob who needs to be brought back down to earth because she is so full of herself. She is the girl that you love to hate. Any high school kid could point you in the direction of at least one other student who could fill that description. Liz’s father is a workaholic, her friends are a bunch of bullies who torment the less popular kids. I almost don’t feel bad about what happens to Liz in this book, even though she does become remorseful about her actions from when she was alive.
Poor, poor Alex Berg. He is the character I really felt for throughout this story. His life was just so pathetic and sheltered and he never really was able to live while he was alive. He never got to witness life outside of high school, which is a shame because of the way he was treated, like he was invisible. I guess being invisible is better than being picked on every single day at school. I was a nerdy kid myself, so I can relate to Alex in so many different ways.
As for the plot, there is this humongous mystery weaved into the story. How did Liz really die? Was it accidental or did someone kill her? She has no memory at first, then pieces of the puzzle start to unfold and she gains her memories back with Alex’s help. There are also smaller, less central mysteries that take place parallel to the big mystery that helps this book become more interesting and less repetitive. The reader is also trying to figure out who killed Alex and if Josie is really Liz’s half sister instead of her step-sister. There are clues everywhere throughout this book that lead to revealing all of the answers. I took a guess towards the middle of the book as to what the final outcomes would be, and I was partly correct at the end.
Final Thoughts: I’m not going to reveal any more then I already have. I will say that you need to read this book. It is a must-read, must-have, type of book. I literally could not put it down. The writing is fantastic and the characters are very human-like in emotion and presence. I highly recommend!