Between - by Jessica Warman

"Authentic dialogue makes the book more believable."

What if you awoke one morning and you were dead? Based on a real incident in her hometown, Jessica Warman's Between is an enticing page- turner that was literally impossible to stop reading.

Elizabeth Valchar seemed to have it all - money, popularity, and good looks. However, after a party on her family's boat celebrating her eighteenth birthday, Elizabeth awakens to a mysterious tapping against the side of the boat. When she decides to get out of the bed to investigate, she discovers it is her own corpse submerged in the bay, continuously knocking against the boat's side. Frightened and unable to remember what has happened to her or much about her life at all, she is guided by another dead boy from her town as the two of them try to recall exactly what happened to them before they died.

To be honest, stories about ghosts have never been my favorite reads; however, Warman surely did something right as I was unable to set down Between. From the very beginning, the mystery is prevalent and the book wastes no time on petty details, giving you straight, thrilling plot on every page. I love it when everything the author writes seems relevant and essential to the climax of the novel and Warman's writing style emphasizes only the things that matter to the overall read.

Another thing Warman does impeccably well is creating characters that are multidimensional. In the beginning, it seems that Elizabeth and all of her popular friends have perfect lives. However, one by one, flaws are revealed that left me questioning exactly what was real and what was a charade. With each smudge mark revealed on a character's background, I found myself questioning more and more the events that lead to Elizabeth's death. Additionally, and almost more importantly, Warman manages to keep Elizabeth - who narrates the novel - likeable, which makes the book more pleasant to read, as opposed to many novels written in first person, where the narrator becomes inconsistent or annoying throughout the book.

I'd also like to take a second to praise Warman for doing what seems to be incredibly rare in some young adult books - authentic dialogue! Finally a book that seems to understand the way teenagers talk to each other and adults. I really hate when I start what is supposed to be a book about teenagers, only to find the dialogue completely unrealistic, emphasizing the fact that the adult author knows little to nothing about the speaking habits of teen. We don't use proper grammar all the time, and we don't always think about what we say before we say it and the conversations in Between embrace this fully. Authentic dialogue makes the book much easier to read and much more believable. Not to mention it almost makes you forget that it's an adult writing about these teenagers.

Paranormal young adult fiction is at its height these days and, to be honest, it seems as if the same plot is repeated over and over. Between, though, is unlike any other book I've ever read. The idea and the story are completely unique. The mystery is so complex that with every new reveal, I gasped and my jaw literally dropped. The book masters the element of surprise, keeping you only as informed as you need to be before making shocking reveals that leave you racing to turn the page.

And the ending? I'll just say that, much like the rest of the book, it left me breathless and aching for the story to never end.

Between is a compelling and thrilling novel that tells an unconventional ghost story far beyond any of its kind written before. It grabbed my by the heart and by the throat and took me on a captivating journey to solve a seemingly impossible mystery and for that, I highly recommend it.

    - Erin W.

" . . . takes the reader to the more sinister places of the mind."

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? I know I sure do! Between filled my thirst for the paranormal and did so much more. The author of the novel, Jessica Warman, loosely based her story on an actual event of her childhood where a local boy went missing after a yacht party but was eventually found alive. Between is an intense story about Elizabeth Valchar, the typical popular, pretty girl. However on the night of her eighteenth birthday, tragedy strikes. After everyone is through partying on her yacht, they fall asleep and awake to something no one was expecting. When Elizabeth, known to her friends as Liz, wakes up, she discovers herself floating in the water surrounding her family's yacht.

Liz is struggling to comprehend what's going on when Alex appears. He has been around for over a year, wandering the streets after being killed by a hit and run. Alex was the outcast at Liz's school, and her friends used to pick on him. At first he doesn't trust Liz and thinks of her as that old school bully instead of the victim of a horrible crime. Together, Liz and Alex must learn to set aside their differences and find out why they are both stuck on Earth after their deaths. They team up and investigate past memories to discover who was responsible for their deaths. Through Liz's memories, the reader sees that Liz isn't just that pretty face but a little girl dealing with what life has thrown at her.

Warman has a great writing style that really captures teenage slang and puts the reader into the story. The characters grew throughout the story and I cared for them by the end. I'd laugh when they laughed and I cried when they cried. Warman also has a very unique writing style. She tells the reader more about the character and their past through their memories. There are many flashbacks throughout the book, explaining what the character was like and how they've changed. Her use of memories gives background information about the characters that helps the reader piece together what really happened to Liz Valchar. The overall plot is engaging and interesting; when it gets to the climax, I literally had my mouth open in disbelief. This is a very moving, emotional book. Warman tears at your heart and knows what emotions to evoke in order to get a reaction from the reader.

While reading this book I was, at times, angry and confused. Then I would be crying from the utter emotion Warman creates through the use of her words. I could feel what the character was feeling and sympathize with their situation (figuratively). She keeps you guessing about what is going to happen and she still surprises you with the actual result! This is a very psychological book and takes the reader to the more sinister places of the mind. When the book was finished I was angry. I didn't want it to be over! I grew to love the different mix of characters and wanted to relive their experiences and heartbreaks. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good ghost story and those who want a moving reading experience.

    - Rachel B.

"Serious issues are talked about in an eye-opening way."

Between is a very mysterious, interesting story. It really grabbed my attention because I love intense books, and let me tell you, this is very intriguing. I would highly recommend this book to everyone 9th grade and up.

I thought this book was very well written. What I really liked is that she wrote it like she was actually a teenager and not an adult. It has a lot of things that would catch teenager's attention. Also, the characters have depth and there are some serious issues talked about in an eye-opening way - eating disorders, drugs, and death. I did feel the story was a little bit predictable. I would have liked it better if it had kept me guessing, but that wasn't really the case. I applaud the author for her work, though, and I'm definitely glad I read this book. I enjoyed it a lot.

    - Bailey B.