Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington Review: Two lives, too much

July 4, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington Review: Two lives, too muchBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington
Published by HarperCollins Australia on May 1, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
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Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.

Until now, that is... 

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 which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?

As soon as Between the Lives turned up on my doorstep, I started reading it straight away. With such a unique and interesting premise, it captivated me from the moment I read the blurb and saw the cover.

Sabine is a teenager who lives two lives, each completely different to the other. In one life, she’s a rebel who has a less than perfect family, one who is poor and never impressed with her. In the other, she lives a dream life as one of the most popular girls in the school who lives in a wealthy family. Every 24 hours at midnight, she shifts between one life to the next, retaining her memories of each life while she is expected to retain a completely different personality.

From describing the challenges in her Roxbury life, to her lack of passion with her ‘perfect’ boyfriend in Wellesley, I was captivated. Sabine has been going through this all of her life (or more appropriate, lives) and she’s clearly learnt how to survive by lying and being what people want her to be. As she nears her 18th birthday, never has she felt so lost. With her constant fear of letting something slip about her other identity and undergoing the traumatic shift at midnight, Sabine has never felt so alone.

That is, until she discovers a loophole when she breaks her arm and for the first time, it doesn’t carry over to her next life. She begins a series of terrifying experiments to see whether she can finally choose the life she wants to live. And that’s where everything spirals out of control and she meets the only person who will ever believe her – Ethan.

I found Between the Lives to be compelling, intelligent, and thrilling. The author describes the fear and uncertainty that Sabine feels with such clarity that it feels like you’re experiencing it along with her. From her perfect Wellesley life to growing closer to Ethan under less than ideal circumstances, Sabine’s life is fascinating. She’s constantly torn between terrifying circumstances, kind of lost between the two.

Ethan and Sabine are a couple that I found myself rooting for, hoping that they would get a happy ever after ending. As Sabine considers ending one life so she can live completely in the other – Ethan teaches her the meaning of living life to the fullest and showing her that love can make the impossible happen. The couple’s lives are sweet yet tragic and they somehow bond in a heart wrenching way.

With a powerful ending that pulled at the heart strings, Between the Lives packed a punch with it’s compelling story and beautiful characters that will leave you with a lasting impression. My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that we never really get answers about why Sabine lives two lives. I wish there was a sequel to this but alas, that’s not the case.

I received a review copy from HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I absolutely loved the book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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8 responses to “Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington Review: Two lives, too much

  1. I've never really been interest in 'parallel lives' storylines, but it sounds like this one really tugged at your heart strings and worked well. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I've read Embrace and I plan to finish that series before I delve into any more of her books. 🙂
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  2. I've never heard of this one before, but since you speak so much high praise for it, I guess it warrants a check out 😉 I'm all for powerful endings and emotional experiences. I'm a crybaby and a softie at heart, and even though I cry easily, I seem to welcome it anyway. Hopefully when I do get a copy of this one, my feels will be the same as yours 🙂

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

  3. Hi Jeann! Saw your post on goodreads, so I figured to stop by and say hello! First, I have to say how awesome your blog looks. The layout is very different from most blogs but I am totally digging it! Instead of viewers having to scroll down, they get to see several of your posts side by side and can choose whatever catches their eye. Very cool!

    Between the Lives sounds like a very interesting, though provoking book. It actually reminds me of a tv show that aired a couple of years ago called AWAKE. Following a tragic car accident, detective Michael Britten finds himself awake in two separate realities: one where his teen son, Rex, died in the crash and his wife, Hannah, survived and another where Hannah has perished, leaving Michael and Rex to pick up the pieces. The similarities of the book and show are pretty uncanny!

    Awesome, thorough review! I am now following your new blog. Feel free to stop by mine sometime. Always looking for new blogger buddies to chat with!

    Best Wishes,

    Mia @ TheMusesCircle

    • Hi Mia, thanks for visiting my blog and appreciate your feedback on my layout! I wanted a different layout that could promote different posts at any given time and it seems to work well 🙂 Sounds like an interesting show, I've never heard of it! I will follow you back as well. Happy blogging!

  4. Wow this one sounds really good! I haven't heard of it before but author seems familiar. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, I'm definitely going to check this one out when I can.

  5. Okay this sounds freaking awesome! I haven't heard of this one before, defo gotta check this out! Awesome review hon!