Between the Lives
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: August 7th 2014 (UK)
by Orchard Books
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.
-A copy was provided by Hachette Children's Books UK for review-
Thought provoking and compelling, Between the Lives is a story about a girl with two lives. One is seemingly perfect, but the other has him…
At first this novel reminded me quite a bit of Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass which I loved, but it ended up standing on its own. While Lucid was more about the mystery, this one is more about big choices and love and life. Often throughout this book I would stop and think about what I would do if I had two lives. Imagine the possibilities! Being able to basically get an extra 24 hours every day to be a different person, yet the same. I just loved this idea, although I could also understand her wanting to give one up, to be able to fully live in one life instead of having to live a lie twice.
The double life aspect is built with fantastic attention to detail – though it isn’t at all difficult to understand like some sci-fi novels can be. It just has many layers to avoid plot holes or endless questions. Like, what happens with injuries and memories and how both worlds work in terms of each other (if she goes to her “other” home, or tries to find people from the other life, for instance). I also loved how different she was in each life. In one, she seems to have it all. A wealthy family, a future at Harvard, tons of friends, popularity, and the perfect relationship – on the outside (I don’t get why she stayed with him if he made her so queasy – I know that he’s a constant to her but bleh). In the other, she’s kind of a delinquent with nothing much going for her in comparison. But then she meets Ethan just when she decides she’s done with this life. Sabine is an 18 year old girl, and teenage girl priorities she has. Her outlook on life is superficial and she can be selfish at times. She may not be the most likeable protagonist, but she’s certainly realistically constructed.
While in one life the romance makes you kind of uneasy, in the other, we’ve got a wonderful love interest: Ethan who is full of charm and larger-than-life questions. I loved how he gave her a reason to stay, but he didn’t make it about himself. He made her think of her double-life as a gift instead of a curse. He also comes with baggage of his own that gives the book some emotional depth as well as a sense of realism that you don’t always find in YA romance. Other than romance we have family and parental presence which I appreciated, but what I enjoyed most was the sibling relationships in both lives. One is a young sister who’s adorable, the other is the older brother with whom she finally forms a bond. With a smaller role but just as well developed, her friend Capri bring a lot of life to the book and quickly became a favourite of mine.
Romance, family, life, and second chances; Between the Lives is a wonderfully crafted contemporary story with a sci-fi twist. I would recommend it to those who like stories with a meaning.