Review Blog

May 17 2013

Between the lives by Jessica Shirvington

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Harper Collins, 2013. ISBN 9780732296261
(Age 17 +) Highly recommended. Urban Fantasy. Paranormal. Romance. The familiar panic rises within Sabine's chest. At the stroke of midnight - for as long as she can remember - Sabine shifts between two worlds. Her physicality, name and memory follow her - but nothing else.
Shirvington's thought-provoking story of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, struggling to find her identity in two very different worlds, is narrated by the main character Sabine. In Roxbury, Boston, life is far from perfect. Sabine's parents are struggling business-owners who have little time for her and her younger sister Maddie. In the thick, city air of Roxbury, Sabine has attitude - choosing alternative friends, street-wise dress and an indifferent attitude towards her future. She is smart - earning a partial scholarship to Boston University. But when her father is around, Sabine can sense the disappointment she's still a long shot from living up to his expectations. In Wellesley, Massachusetts - Sabine's other world - life is picture-perfect. She's a popular, A- grade student bound for university, surrounded by a beautiful home, manicured lawns, loving family - albeit two annoying older brothers - and loyal friends. And then there's Dex - her gorgeous, athletic boyfriend. What more could she want? But for as long as she can remember, Sabine had yearned to live one life - in the world of her choice. She begins a series of dangerous experiments to draw her closer to her dreams, but when her secrets are uncovered - Sabine's situation becomes desperate. She is more determined to reach her goals - but a chance meeting with the handsome and challenging Ethan changes everything. Suddenly Roxbury offers a glimmer of hope - a boy who makes her feel like she has never felt before.
This is Shirvington's first stand-alone novel since the release of her internationally-acclaimed urban-fantasy Embrace series. Her writing is clever and captivating, taking the reader on the enthralling and fast-paced journey with Sabine from one world to the next. Sabine's relationship with Ethan is wonderfully developed and emotionally riveting. A core theme which runs through her previous novels, 'destiny is never certain' - also appears in this book. Shirvington has been quoted as saying her writing is drawn from life experiences, particularly the confusion felt moving from youth into adulthood. Between the Lives tells one such story beautifully - the search for true identity, love and a place in the world.
Michelle Hunt

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