The In Between by Olivia Pierce - Book Review

The In Between - Olivia Pierce

Published: 26 November 2014 - Full Fathom Five Digital

Pages: 344 (Kindle)

Goodreads Rating: 3.40/5

Buy it: Kindle, Nook (Free!), & iBooks

Tara Jenkins and Justin Westcroft used to be childhood BFFs. Now in high school, Justin’s a popular, all-star athlete, and Tara spends her days admiring him from afar. But when Tara saves Justin from nearly drowning in a freak accident, he’s unable to get her out of his mind. In no time at all, Tara and Justin fall deeply in love. And even though it’s only high school, they seem destined for a Happily Ever After.

Until tragedy strikes and this time, Justin’s not so lucky. Tara passes through her days as a shell of her former self: Justin’s dead, but she can still feel his presence, and she can’t seem to let him go.

But there’s a reason for that, and it’s not just grief: Justin is In Between, and he’s still holding on.

They say that when someone saves you, you’re tied to them for life. But what about in the afterlife?

This book felt like mass produced "teen romance" (though it is published by Full Fathom Five, so I don't expect much else). I didn't even know that it was published by Full Fathom Five until I started putting together this post, and I instantly realized why Olivia Pierce's author page just says: "Olivia Pierce lives In Between . . . the East and West Coast of the U.S." and didn't tell me anything about who she is as a person.

Okay, because I have so many things to say about this book, I want to make sure the two biggest positives are clear. I like the writing style of this book because I think that it fits the age (16) of the two main characters. Pierce presents a very interesting idea of the afterlife; however, I do wish that she had expanded on it more, but the expansion she had I felt was sufficient for this particular novel.

However, those were not enough to "save" this novel for me. Pierce stuck her idea of afterlife into a very overused and cliché setting: average girl has been in love with star athlete for forever and key event happens to bring them together with the splash of best friend who thinks this is a terrible idea and ex-girlfriend who is out to get new-girlfriend. This novel is in dual-perspective for the sole reason that is Justin's death (not even a spoiler because they put it in the synopsis) and they honestly don't even feel necessary until his death halfway through the novel.

My main problem with this novel are the characters. My biggest problem is with Tara, but by the end of the book I honestly have problems with all of them (something I've never really experienced in a book before). However, for the sake of this review I will only discuss Tara and the underlying problem that I have with all the other characters. Tara is incredibly weak and a terrible example of what a girl (or anyone) in a relationship (with anyone, not just romantic) should be. She is so incredibly dependent on Justin, and at multiple points in the novel, she thought about killing herself just so that she could be with him again.

And with the other characters, my underlying problem is that in the second half of this book, there are so many out-of-character actions by not only a few of the characters but practically all of them. Name a character in this book, and (9 times out of 10) I can give you an OOC moment that happens.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book. I think that it could have been something completely different than what it was if it had been written and/or published by someone else.

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