The In Between
Author: Marc Klein
Published: June 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 21- June 30, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
After bouncing around in foster homes for most of her childhood, seventeen-year-old Tessa Jacobs doesn’t believe she deserves love — not from her adoptive parents, and certainly not from anyone at school.
But everything changes when she has a chance encounter at the local movie theater with Skylar, a senior from a neighboring town who’s a true romantic. Their budding relationship quickly leads to the kind of passionate love you only see in the movies. And Tessa starts to believe she might be deserving of a happy ending after all.
When tragedy strikes, Tessa wakes up alone in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. And Skylar has passed away. As Tessa begins her relentless search for answers, Skylar’s spirit reaches out to her from the other side. Desperate to see him one last time, Tessa must unravel the pieces of their relationship — and the truth might even lead her into the afterlife itself.
The In Between is a sweet YA story that deals with first love and the loss of that love. Tessa has gone from foster home to foster home and feels she doesn’t deserve any kind of love and she has built up walls. One morning after snow has fallen, Tessa decides to go out and take photos with her ‘vintage’ 35 mm camera versus today’s digital camera. Photography is Tessa’s passion and she even develops the photos herself. And yes, she only takes black and white photos.
Taking a break from the cold, Tessa goes to the old movie theater to watch a film… That ends up being in French… And Tessa doesn’t know French…One other person comes into the theater who ends up sitting next to her and says he will translate for her. He’s a teenage boy around her age. His name is Skylar and this is the start of what will end up becoming first love for Tessa.
But this first love isn’t to last, as we know from the book description that Tessa wakes in the hospital with no memory and then has to be told that Skylar has died in an accident. And Tessa literally died and was brought back. She has a literal and figurative broken heart.
This is just the beginning of The In Between. The novel jumps back and forth from before the accident and just days after the accident. We see the relationship between Tessa and Skylar grow, and we also get some possible paranormal activity: Skylar is seemingly trying to reach out to Tessa from beyond the grave.
Yes, this story is an ‘insta-love’ one that mainly takes place over a summer, but it is a YA story and don’t most of those novels deal with insta-love? The chapters are short and this is a quick moving story that is a short novel at just over 300 pages. It appears that it will become a movie at some point, and I will see it. No, I did not cry reading the book though I wondered if I was going to as we already know the end of Tessa’s and Skylar’s story from the start. I do see myself crying when the film is released.
I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to the future film. Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy to read and review through Amazon Vine.
The Night Sister
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Published: March 8, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.
Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.
I listened to this book on audio and thankfully, the narrator was a good one! It was a very easy listen and I was able to keep up without any trouble. The characters were mostly likeable and interesting. Even though many of them were younger during most of the story (different timelines), there wasn’t all that horrible YA drama. I was a little confused by the paranormal aspect. It was hinted at at the beginning, but I wasn’t really expecting it. Here I was, looking for metaphorical meanings, when in reality, the paranormal aspect was actually weaved through the plot. I get that paranormal is not supposed to be overly realistic, and unfortunately, I think it took away from the story. It felt a little anticlimactic.
Overall, this was a pretty good book; it’s got a horror tinge, without being super scary. I did very much love the Tower Motel as a setting! So I’d say it’s a good book to recommend to those who enjoy mysteries.[Top]
The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
To Be Published: July 13, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 10-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can’t decide what’s worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.
Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he’s a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win
As a part of June’s prompt for #Diverseathon2021I read The Taking of Jake Livingston which features a main character that is LQBTQ+. My copy was also an arc copy, the book will be released on July 13, 2021. This is a YA novel but more so of a horror novel. We have a main character that is gay and I read this novel for #Diverseathon for the month of June as the prompt is a main character who is LQBTQ. I also liked that the novel takes place in Georgia and the author is from the state. Places are mentioned that I know of which made the novel more enjoyable for me.
Our main character Jake is different in several ways: He is one of just a few black students at his private school, one of those students being his brother. Jake is also gay and in the closet. Jake also has a unique ability that he does not enjoy: He sees ghosts and they constantly replay their last moments before death. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear, until Jake comes across one particular ghost named Sawyer who was a school shooter. And this ghost has plans for Jake.
This is a short novel, just over 250 pages and it packs quite the punch in those few pages. The last third of the novel really picks up the pace and I could not put it down: I had to know what was going to happen to Jake! There is a horror element that was a bit intense as Sawyer is a frightening and evil ghost! Sawyer is a Michael Myers type of ghost. Both Jake and Sawyer are our narrators (Sawyer through his diary). We learn about Sawyer’s difficult life and in some ways have a little bit of empathy for him.
There is a little bit of a romance that tries to develop when Allister arrives to the school, but Jake fears for Allister’s safety.
I enjoyed this novel and will be on the lookout for what comes next from Ryan Douglass. After all, he’s from Georgia too!
I received an arc copy from the publisher via Bookish First.
June’s host is Danyel at dany.alvey over at Instagram. She is having a giveaway of $15 to Book Depository (or Amazon for a US winner) for your choice of a book. This is an international giveaway! Be sure to check out her Instagram for full details on that giveaway.