Friday, June 24, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott begins following a terrible accident which leaves Abby's flawless older sister Tess in a coma. Abby has always been the Other Sister, the one who isn't as pretty or as smart or as popular but as hard as it is never feeling good enough, it is worse not having Tess. So Abby hatches a plan to wake Tess up, and the key is the gorgeous Eli, but it turns out that meeting him opens doors Abby never would have expected and the truth about Tess is that she wasn't exactly who she seemed after all.

Between Here and Forever was my second young adult novel in a short period time about a younger sister who has lived her whole life in the shadow of a beautiful and outgoing older sister, only to have herself thrust suddenly into the spotlight when something tragic happens to the older sister. The book I read first with this storyline was The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and I absolutely loved it, so it was going to be hard for anything else to compare. I also read The Properties of Water by Hannah Roberts McKinnon which has a similar storyline and lovely writing, although it is aimed at a younger audience since it doesn't contain sexual content like The Sky is Everywhere and Between Here and Forever do. So with all these books about younger sisters living life in the shadows, Between Here and Forever was definitely going to need something special to really capture my heart. And it almost succeeded.

The thing about Between Here and Forever is that I am sure a lot of readers will find Abby excessively whiny and insecure. And she is. Sure, she has a beautiful and popular older sister, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't be able to find some friends of her own or that she should always be putting herself down. But when it comes to real life, especially as a teenager, it is so easy to fall into that pit of self-hate and self-deprecation that I completely understood what Abby was going through, and what it is like to never think you are anything special. I feel like that is something that many people, teenage girls especially, deal with no matter if they have a seemingly perfect older sibling or not. So I appreciated how Scott took this issue on, and how through her sister's injury Abby was forced to confront some of the insecurities she has lived with her whole life, as well as some of the negative behaviours, like pursuing a relationship with a boy interested in her sister, they have lead to.

That said, Between Here and Forever wasn't always exciting to read, and at times perhaps Abby's whininess was responsible for slowing the story down. I did find it authentic inside Abby's mind, but there times when I wished for a little more external action and a little less internal conflict, if only to keep me turning the page. This is especially true because although Scott's writing felt true to the voice of a teenager, that doesn't always mean it was particularly unique or beautiful to read and perhaps that was because it was a little too true to the character and sometimes a little poetry in the language is nice even if people don't really think or talk that way- for an example of this, see The Sky Is Everywhere.

This was my first Elizabeth Scott and there already several others on my To Read list, especially when it comes to her more thrilleresque titles like Living Dead Girl, which Nina posted a rave review of that moved it even higher up my list, Grace and the upcoming As I Wake. Although it was slow moving at times, Scott got my attention with Between Here and Forever, now it will be time to see if she can keep it.

Release Date: May 24th, 2011
Pages: 256
: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab

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