Monday, March 04, 2013

Warm + Satisfying = A Winning Combination

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Amelia Mercer's used to feeling invisible whenever her younger sister is in the room.  It doesn't bother her.  Much.  She knows 16-year-old Charly can't help it—people are just naturally attracted to her beauty and charm.  Amelia's no different; she'll do anything for her sister, whether it's covering for Charly when she misses curfew or chauffering her to the scene of her latest prank.  

Despite her impulsiveness, Charly's never been in serious trouble before.  Until now.  Now, Charly's got a secret, a secret that will devastate the girls' already-grieving father, not to mention stain his reputation as the moral leader of their small Florida town.  Amelia refuses to let that happen.  And she absolutely will not allow Tremonton's vicious gossips to ruin her sister's life with their wagging tongues.  But, when the only plausible solution to the situation involves exile to a frozen little town in Canada, Amelia hesitates.  She wants to spend the rest of her senior year in Florida playing field hockey, hanging out with her friends and maybe even winning back the guy who dumped her for Charly.  As much as she hates herself for it, Amelia's just not sure she can stand by her sister on this one.  Doesn't she deserve to choose her own happiness over Charly's—just this once?  

Torn between loyalty to her sister and anger at Charly's increasing selfishness, Amelia's not sure how to feel, let alone what to do next.  Should she let Charly's choices determine her own fate?  Or force her reckless sister to face the consequences of her own actions, even if it means destroying their relationship forever?

With two of my own, I'm always drawn to stories about sisters.  There's just something so compelling about these strong, but complex relationships.  In her second novel, The Space Between Us, Jessica Martinez looks at just such a bond.  Amelia and Charly are typical sisters, so typical they're almost cliché (Amelia's the responsible, older sister; Charly the wild younger one).  Still, there's something about them that drew me in and made me care.  Although I identified most strongly with Amelia, I felt a lot of empathy for Charly as well.  As the girls worked through their differences, I found myself rooting for both of them, hoping that somehow they could salvage their sisterly bond.  At times, their story seems a little far-fetched, it's true, but I still enjoyed reading about the girls' ups and downs as they sought to understand each other.  Their struggles felt authentic.  Overall, The Space Between Us is a warm, satisfying read that's touching without being saccharine.  That's a winning combination in my book (look at that—a reading pun).

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for mild language (no F-bombs), depictions of illegal drug use and underage drinking, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


2 comments:

  1. I actually don't have any siblings, so it's that much more interesting to delve into those relationships in fiction. This one sounds like one for my wish list. Great review!

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  2. Ah the relationship between sisters. Don't know if I could handle this one right now. ;-)

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