Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: Between by Jessica Warman

14 Oct 2011

Title: Between
Jessica Warman
Hardie Grant Egmont
Release Date: October 1st 2011 (AUS)
Publisher for review (Thank you!)
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...

My Thoughts:
Liz is woken up one morning after her 18th birthday party on her family’s yacht by a loud and relentless thumping noise. When she walks outside her yacht to investigate, she sees herself lying dead between the dock and the boat. Being a spirit now, she has only a fragmented recollection of her life, and the night she died. With the help of Alex, who only recently passed away as well, Liz begins to unravel the mystery of her death and secrets she never would have dreamed was possible. As she begins to remember her past through revisiting her memories, Liz is able to understand herself better, thereby achieving self-knowledge and eventually be able to learn forgiveness and to let go. This is a moving story of learning to forgive yourself and those around you and achieve a sense of self-discovery through unraveling the mysteries and secrets of one’s past.

Elizabeth Valchara.k.a Liz, pretty, popular, perfect- she’s one of those typical‘it’ girls from high school teen dramas. We all know what they’re like; spoilt, rich, dates the most popular guy at school. I usually have not tolerance for these girls- I mean, they’re so superficial and shallow, so what is there to read about?- but Liz’s story is different. Although, when alive, she bullied peers who were seen as inferior to her and would rather die than be seen with an unpopular student, as she revisited these memories, she was able to view her actions from the perspective of an objective outsider and consequently became aware of how awful she was to everyone. I was pleasantly surprised but glad to see that she was deeply regretful of her past actions and constantly wished she could go back in time to mend her wrongdoings.

After Liz’s death, she meets Alex, an ‘uncool’/’unpopular’ student who always sat alone at lunch time, fearing the day when he’ll be noticed by the popular kids. We all know the drill. We’ve read about these people all the time as well, but with them, we feel sympathy and kindness. Liz and Alex did not get along at first - they bickered and fought constantly – but as time passed, they grew closer and eventually trusted each other enough to share their deepest secrets.  This shows that everyone, regardless social status can get along & be friends.( so why does everyone have to be labeled with a specific social standing?)

I really enjoyed visiting both Alex and Liz’s past; we gained an insight into their lives prior to their deaths, and of course through these memories we were able to uncover the truth. I must admit, while reading the book, I was constantly confused as to whether the characters were in the past or present. You see, Liz could not always control whether to visit the past or stay put, so sometimes she would spontaneously enter her memories and return to the past. I guess when I think back after reading the book, this wasn’t too much of a problem but it was slightly annoying since I had to flip back to check where she was.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading Between.  It was a highly entertaining novel with solid characters and a promising plot filled with mystery and suspense. Grab a copy if you haven’t read this yet; it’s definitely one you can’t miss!

Rating: 4 stars


  1. I saw this in the shop but walked passed it because I knew I wanted the hardcover, plus being out of the job at the moment means I cannot splurge (insert irritated expression). Definitely keen to pick up a copy when i can after that review!

  2. I've got this one at home but haven't gotten a chance to get into it yet. It sounds really cool though and I love the cover (yes I buy books just for that sometimes haha). Good to know that it can become confusing with the time changes - but it doesn't seem to really affect the liking of the book. Great review!

    Xpresso Reads


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