8 July 2014

Review: Between The Lives - Jessica Shirvington

For as long as Sabine can remember she has lived two lives. At midnight every day, she shifts from one life to the next, replaying that day in her alternate life. One life is perfect, the other, not so much, apart from the burst of sunshine that is her little sister. She has been living - coping- with her two lives for 18 years, never telling a soul, until one day something changes; she breaks her arm, but the break doesn't cross over into her next life. Suddenly, she has the option to let one life go, the question is; should she?

This book. How can I begin to tell you about this book? It is fundamentally about life and death. It makes you think about the bigger picture and wonder about what happens when you die. Is reincarnation real? Are there parallel worlds? Should suicide ever be an option? Between The Lives covers all these difficult questions and twists the idea of suicide into something that you could understand from this perspective. It also twists the way that we see insanity, as at some points you are unsure whether the other life is really just Sabine's imagination. The story could have swung any way it wanted in that respect; it could have grounded its-self in reality or gone with the parallel lives thing. Personally, I love what Jessica Shirvington did.

The book can be hard-going. It addresses the more brutal aspects of life; mental illness, self-harm, suicide, physical abuse, and so on. At one point, I had to put the book down for ten minutes or so, because although the thoughts of suicide were not there, the act still was, and it made he horrifically uncomfortable. There is one more issue with the book; you can see the ending coming a mile off, both twists. However, that didn't necessarily blow me away any less. In fact, because I was expecting one part and hope for the other, the ending just played out really nicely for me, and was quite satisfying.

Between The Lives is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, slow-burning romance, complete with everything that makes a well-rounded book; love, loss, family, confusion, pain and pleasure. It is an emotion story that teaching us about the fleeting quality of life and tells us to embrace it while we have the chance. It is unlike anything else I have read; moving, awful to read in places, but I guarantee it will stay with me for some time.

I was utterly riveted by this book.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Hachette Children's Books (Orchard Books) for this Advance copy, due to be published on the 7th of August.