Between the Lives
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Expected Publication: August 7th, 2014 by Orchard Books
Page count: 336
Genre: YA – Contemporary, Paranormal
The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she’ll choose?A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives – this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience.
I was immediately intrigued by the premise upon reading the blurb. I love stories about parallel universe and so I felt like I had to read it at some point. Between the Lines was far from being the perfect book but it obviously left me feeling good.
“I am two people. Neither better than the other, no superpowers, no mystical destinies, no two-places-in-one-time mechanism – but two people.”
First of all, let’s talk about the main character, Sabine. To be honest, I didn’t always love her throughout the book. She isn’t annoying by any chance, it’s just that her character isn’t fleshed out enough to make me root for her. I wish that her emotions and desperation had been conveyed much more realistically. She has gotten used to living literally two lives but one incident changes her view and tests her knowledge of her strange existence. In order to find out more, Sabine conducts a series of experiment that might as well be a little disturbing for me, such as hurting herself. Other than that, I thought she was an okay protagonist.
I also liked Sabine’s relationships with her siblings. In Roxbury, she has an adorable little sister that looks up to her and it really shows that they both care for each other. In her other life (Wellesley), she has two older brothers she isn’t close to but I really enjoyed reading the development of their relationship.
The plot was enjoyable. Although the book switches between two lives, I could easily follow the story without getting confused. It was actually nice to read about how Sabine can maintain such different personalities in both lives. However, the thing that definitely got a frown for me is the paranormal element. I’m not sure that the “Shift” had been explained thoroughly and I remember feeling baffled many times.
There is also what could be one of the most-cliched twist ever regarding the romance but luckily, Jessica Shirvington managed to stir my emotions with how well the scenes are written and if it hadn’t been for that emotional feelings I got in the last 100 pages, then this book would have definitely had a lower rating.
I thought the ending was much too convenient and a lot of my questions about Sabine is still unanswered but overall, Between the Lives is a really great book. I read it in one sitting and I would recommend to for people who are looking for a quick, meaningful read.