How do I describe this book?
For starters? 454 pages. Which I read in one sitting. One.
And when I finished, I sat there, staring off, wiping tears and stuff. I could not put this book down. I set aside my writing, for crying out loud. This is big. BIG, I tell you.
Go on. Keep reading. This is not a book to miss. And then enter to win the ARC below. And the ARC of THE NEAR WITCH. Also fantastic.
P.S. If you want to feel the fullest, possible impact from this story, DO NOT READ THE SUMMARY before reading the story. (But DO read my review. I'm a NO-SPOILER kind of girl.)
BETWEEN by Jessica Warman
Summary: 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...
It's really hard for me to be swept away by a book in the same way I used to be swept away as a kid. Maybe it's a writer thing. I don't know. I mean, I have this ridiculous internal editor that never shuts up. But something happened as I was reading BETWEEN. I noticed it had a release date of August 2, so I picked it up, and there I stood reading this afternoon, beside my kitchen island, my Coke Zero forgotten and my peanut butter sandwich staling, and before I knew it, my legs were cramping and I was fifty pages in. I moved to the sofa and I kept reading. I noticed that my heart rate had accelerated and I was reading faster and faster, and seriously, I felt like I was having some sort of panic attack. Liz, Richie, Alex--I knew them. Within an hour, I knew them. I rooted for them. I was horrified by them. I cringed and laughed and my heart thumped thumped thumped for them.
See, the book's description on the back of the ARC did not reveal nearly as much as the summary on Goodreads, so when I got to the end of chapter one, I gasped out loud. I was stunned. And the world Warman created, criminy, it's like real and insane and real real real. What an authentic voice. You know, like Lauren Oliver, except her own. We see this world of high school drama that is genuine without being totes-OMG-FML-like-whatever. So, yeah. Just real. And so are the bullies. It forces you to see the ugliness and the meanness that exists in our schools, and it keeps your eyes fixed. And sometimes that hurts. And the grown-ups? The real life drama of adult life? It seeps in so authentically, meshed so perfectly with the complicated lives of these teenagers from every walk of life. No caricatures or stock characters--just real and complex and multi-faceted.
Have I said real yet?
It sucks you into this world that is ours, but there's a strong, supernatural current that you must navigate as you move through this/our world. But the way it's told, the way the story unfolds, I bought it. I never once questioned it. There were all these pieces to the puzzle of this book--which is a gorgeous love story with a supernatural element and a mystery--and everything came together so brilliantly. There's also some serious darkness to this book, issues that affect so many of our teens, and they're dealt with in a non-preachy, realistic, relevant way. But the most amazing thing? Warman was able to make me weep for a character that at one point repulsed me. Talk about incredible characterization and unbelievable craftmanship. I was so moved. Swept away. Breathless. BETWEEN is truly unforgettable--a beautiful, cautionary story that defies expectations, forces us to confront our darkest realities, and reminds us just how fragile and precious and hard life really is.
BETWEEN will be available August 2.
Now, if this review has piqued your curiosity, perhaps enter my giveaway, huh?
I'm giving away one ARC of BETWEEN by Jessica Warman.
I'm giving away this ARC, too:
THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
Summary: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Available August 2.
I only just started this one, so I can't do a full review yet. But oh my word, so far it's fantastic. Very eerie and mysterious. Lexi is such a rich character. A gripping read thus far. Check out Shana Silver's review of THE NEAR WITCH. Stay tuned for my full review!
Okay, so, here's the part where you enter to win ARCs of BETWEEN and THE NEAR WITCH. This giveaway is open internationally. Ends Tuesday, July 18, 2011. Thanks for entering and good luck!
Click here to enter ARC of BETWEEN and ARC of THE NEAR WITCH International Giveaway
(COME BACK TOMORROW FOR MORE ARC GIVEAWAYS and to find out the winners of Matt Blackstone's Signed A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE and Lisa Desrochers' Signed PERSONAL DEMONS and ORIGINAL SIN.)
And here's the part where you check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:
Elana Johnson revels in Ruby Red
LiLa Roecker is nuts for I’m Not Her
Christine Fonseca interviews picture book author Michelle McLean – with giveaway
Beth Revis reveals her reading recommendations
Jessi Kirby discovers Where Things Come Back
Shannon Whitney Messenger swoons for Supernaturally – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells features “guestanisto” author Matt Blackstone
Carolina M Valdez is bedazzled by Between – with giveaway
Shana Silver wonders at The Near Witch
Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates Selling Hope