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July 29, 2013

Review: The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez

From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep—and the secret that could tear them apart.

Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly’s thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands both sisters in serious trouble.

Amelia’s not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to . . . but forgiveness is beside the point. Because Charly is also hiding a terrible secret, and the truth just might tear them apart forever.

From the very beginning, it seemed that The Space Between Us would turn out to be unlike any book I've ever read, and I'm so glad to say that this was indeed the case.

For once, the two main characters are not a protagonist and his/her love interest. No, this novel follows two young women whose lives have been tied together for as long as they can remember. Narrator Amelia Mercer, a senior in high school, has always served as an anchor for her sixteen-year-old sister Charly. In a lot of ways, Amelia and Charly are as thick as thieves, but one life-changing mistake by Charly pushes Amelia to the edge of her limits. As a result, the sisters are left to either slowly but surely rebuild their relationship, or leave it in tatters without looking back.

While the big issue mentioned in the synopsis was fairly predictable, the events following that revelation actually took me by surprise. I liked that The Space Between Us didn't waste too much time leading up to the announcement of Charly's latest--and greatest--blunder and instead focused on analyzing Amelia and Charly's relationship thereafter. I also appreciated the fact that the book is a standalone, something that is become increasingly rare in the YA market.

Romance fans, have no fear. Though love takes a back seat in this novel, it is not entirely absent. A bit-of-a-broken-soul-but-nonetheless-amazing guy named Ezra shows his face during Amelia's darkest hours, and it isn't much of stretch to say they are each other's saving grace. Sure, their relationship was nowhere remotely close to perfect, but that's what made it beautiful to read. A number of secondary characters also helped to add dynamic to the story, including but not limited to Grandma Mercer and Aunt Bree. Both had very quirky and unique personalities that often made me either laugh out loud or want to break something, or sometimes both at the same time. That's how you know that these characters are extremely multi-dimensional and well constructed.

I truly enjoyed The Space Between Us and am definitely considering looking into Jessica Martinez's other works. if you're ever in the mood for a more serious but still riveting novel, I'd highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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