Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington, published August 2014 by Orchard Books.
Read: January 2015
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Fantasy
Source: Publisher – this does not affect my opinion of the book.
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she’ll choose?
I went into this book with no expectations, and I was really very pleasantly surprised. The dual-life aspect really did make you think about “the grass is always greener” – we’re often told to walk in someone else’s shoes before casting judgement, and in this case, Sabine really does get to walk in two very different lives. I found the differences portrayed in these two lives added a really interesting element to the story, and I struggled to put this book down once I got into it, as the plot was very entertaining.
Although I enjoyed the book overall, there were times when Sabine grated on me as a character – I felt she lacked a lot of maturity at the start of the novel but thankfully this seemed to change as time went on. I have to say, I felt sorry for her, and mentally exhausted thinking about what she has to go through. Sure, two lives sounds fun at first – but to do school twice over, live through a 10 day working week (5 kills me sometimes as it is!) and to have to go through the emotions of two lives – that would be tiring!
I LOVED the romantic storyline in this read. Ethan. Le sigh. What can I say about Ethan? He is caring, smart, witty and protective. He made me swoon. Hard. There are emotional and sad elements to this story, which did make me tear up, I think one or two may even have spilled over! I don’t want to give too much away – but I liked how the novel eventually ended…
One thing I will say is that part of me would have liked to have found out more about Sabine’s condition. Why does she have two lives? How does she have two lives? I guess for those questions to be answered though she probably would have had to become a Government experiment of some sort, so part of me is also glad the novel didn’t focus on that aspect, and instead tells us about her experiences, as opposed to explaining why she is the way she is.
“We only exist because others see us. Part of my existence… an important part, only exists because you are here to see it.”
I didn’t even realise I own other books by Jessica Shirvington until I was tidying up recently and stumbled upon The Violet Eden Chapters – I picked 4 of the 5 books up in a sale, so I’m looking forward to reading them now I’m familiar with Shirvington’s work.
Have you read Between the Lives? What did you make of Sabine’s two lives? Let me know in the comments!