Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Elizabeth Valchar--pretty, popular, and rich--wakes up the morning after her eighteenth 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 Liz was following in her mother's footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out. . . .
From critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman comes a shocking mystery, a heartbreaking character study, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.
The book opens up Liz discovering her own drowned body in the water with no memory of what happened to her the night she died and only random bits of memory of the life she lived. I thought this a very interesting premise, so I dived into this book eagerly. The story was pretty much told in flashbacks as Liz and Alex, a classmate of hers who was killed by a hit-and-run driver about a year ago, go back to significant points of her life to figure out how she ended up dead. Each memory was a like a piece to the puzzle and some were sweet but others were emotional and shocking--especially those involving Liz's mom who died from an eating disorder when she was younger.
About a third of the book in I started to get a little antsy. There was a lot of great build-up as we learn about Liz's past but it got a little too much, drawn out too long. I wasn't bored or anything but I wanted the story to get on already, for something else to happen. In any event, I was reading an advanced reader's copy so maybe the final book may be different. I did like how the author treated the romance aspect of this book. I thought how things ended with Liz and Alex was perfect; with everything that we learned about them, there couldn't have been another way. The relationship between Liz, Alex and Liz's boyfriend Richie could have easily been a big melodramatic love triangle but it wasn't and I was delightfully surprised--I really liked that this novel focused on other themes besides romantic love.
The cover gives an impression that this is a sleep-with-the-lights-on kind of book but it's not. Early on I had my suspicions of who killed Liz and Alex as well as how Alex was connected to Liz and I was right on track but this may be just me (I like to piece out the puzzle in my head whenever I'm reading a mystery of some sort). I did enjoy Liz as the narrator, she wasn't always likable but you will come to learn why she was how she was. The other characters were great as well, there was more to them than meets the eye. The ending was both lovely and bittersweet but right from the beginning, I knew it would be because Liz was dead.
Overall, Between was entertaining and compelling and at times surprising. The blend of mystery, paranormal and some contemporary issues (e.g., eating disorder, bullying, underage drinking) was excellently done. 4 out of 5 stars