12 January 2015

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington
Series: No
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Publication Date: August 7th 2014
Source: Hachette Children's Books [Netgalley]

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

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?

Between the Lives is a book I've been wanting to read forever. I've been building myself up to read it from last year because I wasn't ready to deal with the subject of suicide/self-harm for personal reasons. But Between the Lives finally managed to lure me in, and it was worth it.

Between the Lives follows our main character, Sabine, who has two lives. Every night at midnight she shifts lives. Everything about her is exactly the same, but her lives are completely different. One night after Sabine has broken her arm, she's up worrying about how she's going to explain it in her other life when she shifts and, miraculously, her arm isn't broken. With this new knowledge that injuries don't shift with her, Sabine begins some more risky experiments to see what happens after she shifts. And she start to believe that she can finally have a normal life, but to have a normal life she must lose one. But which one does she choose?

I felt so bad for Sabine. Having to live two different lives with two different families and be a completely different person in each of her lives? That's a lot of hard work. Also, having to live each day twice and going through those horrible shifts? It must be absolute hell. Sabine just wants a normal life and I really felt for her. She's so alone because she can't tell anyone the truth.

The story follows Sabine through both of her lives in Roxbury & Wellesley. In Roxbury, Sabine is a bit of a rebel. Her parents don't approve of her best friend, or what she wears. She has a sister that she completely adores. In Wellesley, Sabine is popular, has the perfect boyfriend and two brothers who hardly speak to her. 

In Roxbury, Sabine's experiments led her to come clean about her two lives which lead to her parents having her committed. The events leading up to Sabine being committed were really the only parts I couldn't read. I skimmed over the self harming because although I feel alright to read about it, I didn't need all the details. As soon as Sabine was committed she came to the realization that no one will believe her. They all think she's crazy and inventing a second imaginary life because she's unhappy. And then Sabine meets Ethan - well, technically she had already met him once, but this was really the start of everything. Ethan  was just what Sabine needed. He's there for her, he looks out for her, and most of all, he listens and doesn't tell her she's crazy. Ethan begins to test Sabine to see whether she does have another life, and the test and their constant communication leads to wonderful romance.

In Wellesley, Sabine is the girlfriend of Dex - the most lusted after guy in school. Sabine believes that her life in Wellesley is the perfect life. But throughout the book, everything that she thought was perfect began unravelling very subtly. Sabine was questioning her feelings for Dex and it basically only seemed like she was with him because he was nice. She didn't seem to have any kind of romantic feelings towards him at all.

The events in both lives began to take a toll on Sabine, but it was the events in her Roxbury life that left me heartbroken and sobbing. I just couldn't believe what had happened. I'd worked out that something was wrong and that Sabine wasn't getting the whole truth, but I never expected that. Sabine's life in Wellesley took a turn for the worse as well, not as heartbreaking, but still extremely horrible. 

And then the last chapter happened. That chapter left me with a huge grin on my faces, happy tears and the hope that Sabine will get her happy life. It was a perfect ending.

Overall, Between the Lines was a fantastic read. Although it was slightly difficult for me to read at times, I still completely adored it. 


  1. Sounds like this is a book I really need to read. I'm so intrigued about the two lives and shifts from one to the other... Do we get any sort of explanation about why that happens to Sabine at all, btw?
    Great review Samantha!

    1. It's brilliant! So I'd definitely recommend grabbing it. We don't actually. I totally forgot all about that.