Friday, 28 October 2011

Book Review: Between by Jessica Warman.

Product details:
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd.
Paperback, 384 pages.
Release date: October 3rd 2011.
Rating: 4½ out of  5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Only the good die young. Right? Elizabeth Valchar has it all: friends, money, beauty, a cute boyfriend and assured popularity. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she is found drowned next to her parents' boat. Everyone thinks it was a tragic accident - teens drinking on a boat, a misstep leading to a watery death. But Liz is still here after death, and she doesn't know why. There are gaps in her memory. Her only company Alex, a boy killed by a car a year earlier, Liz sets out to piece together her life. But their small coastal town is hiding many secrets - about families, boyfriends and friendship. Plus, Alex hates Liz for being mean when they were alive. Was she as squeaky clean as she thinks she was? Could it be that she herself is hiding the biggest secret of all? Can Liz discover the truth? And if she does, who can she tell? An engrossing, compelling thriller that peels back the layers of small-town life to expose true, ugly, cruel human nature.

Billed as a Lovely Bones for teens Between by Jessica Warman is an atmospheric  thriller that will grip you from the very first page and keep you reading late into the night as you strive to unravel its complex plot of small town secrets, lies and betrayal.

Pretty, popular and rich, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Valchar has it all. Loved by her family and friends, and adored by her boyfriend, Richie, Liz is the girl who all other girls want to be, and all guys want to be with. Or so it seems. For Liz is hiding some dark secrets, and what lies behind her polished smile and seemingly charmed life could be deadly, dangerous and may even have led to her death. For you see, we don’t meet Liz as a living breathing girl, but as a ghost, who is trapped in the ‘between’ as she tries to uncover how exactly she died on the night of her eighteenth birthday party while surrounded by her friends. Accompanying Liz on her journey is the ghost of Alex, a boy who died in similarly mysterious circumstances a year previously. Through a series of flashbacks we revisit the years and months leading up to Liz’s death and discover that everyone in her life, from family to friends and even her beloved Richie, has been hiding something from her, and it is up to Liz to discover who is hiding the biggest secret of all.

If David Lynch is the filmic master of exposing the dark underbelly that so often seemingly lies beneath sleepy small town exteriors, then Jessica Warman in this book is his literary equivalent as she uncovers a murky underworld lying beneath the prosperous town of Noank, Connecticut where teenagers party on the yachts of parents too preoccupied with high-flying careers to notice that their kids are spiraling out of control in a haze of drugs and alcohol. The depiction of a small town where everybody has a shady secret and the darkest things happen behind closed doors lends a brilliantly norish appeal to this book which is multi-layered and has a cross-genre appeal both thematically and topically.   Not only does Between contain all the elements of a thrilling mystery, this book also deals with a number of hard hitting issues, not least of all the issue of anorexia which has dominated Liz’s life in one way or another ever since she was a child.

In Liz, Warman presents to us a complex character and it is a testament to her skills as a writer that while the reader will initially dislike the character of Liz thinking her spoiled and shallow, they will come to warm to her over the course of the book as they watch her grow and realize the mistakes that she made in life. In death she comes of age, and we learn that she is so much more than the bitchy rich kid that she presents to us and to everybody else in her world. Liz  may appear to lead a charmed life, but all is not what it seems.

Fast paced and intense throughout and with a conclusion that is totally satisfying if not wholly unexpected, Between is everything I love in a book and is one of my 2011 favourites. In fact I liked this one so much so much that as soon as I turned the final pages, I ordered another of Warman’s books, Breathless, which I’ll be reading soon. I hope to love this one just as much as I loved Between.


  1. After that fabulous review, I don't there's anything more to say other than I just added Between to my goodreads pile and wishlist :D

    Beautifully eloquent review, by the way.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  2. Ooh I'm so excited to read this one I got it a few weeks ago. Mine has a different cover though I've never seen this one. Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  3. I really liked this one too. I agree - I thought Liz was so annoying and arrogant at first, but as the book went on it was easier to understand why she acted that way and I definitely warmed to her! I did find it really weird though that I was reading a book about a dead girl called Liz..:P. Great review :).

  4. Wow, you reviewed this book so good that you got me all excited to get a copy and read it asap. :) And now it's one of your favourites. OMG. Btw: Love, love the cover!

  5. That's a fantastic review! I've got Between in my TBR pile and I'll definitely need to read it next month. I enjoy complex plots that make you anticipate the conclusion so much you just can't stop reading.

  6. I like the sound of this one! I loved The Lovely Bones so if this is anything like that, I'm in.

  7. I think I need to read this book! awesome review!

  8. Wow, one of your favorites huh? That makes it a must read for me! I love when I start out unsure about a character and then over the course of the book they change into someone I can really root for:) Can't wait to read this one!

  9. I'm really excited to read this book, especially after such a great review!

  10. I've read nothing but good things about this book! The UK cover is really cool. I have this book in my TBR pile. Wow...Warman reminds you of David Lynch (Big Twin Peaks fan)! I have to read this soon :)

  11. LilMissFashionista Nora12 June 2013 at 09:06

    the book was soo good everything is unexpected and keeps you reading to the very end........and wanting more

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