Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: The Space Between

"Sixteen-year old Anna Sullivan is having terrible dreams of a massacre at her school. Anna’s father is a mentally unstable veteran, her mother vanished when Anna was five, and Anna might just chalk the dreams up to a reflection of her crazy waking life — except that Tyler Marsh, the most popular guy at the school and Anna’s secret crush, is having the exact same dream.
Despite the gulf between them in social status, Anna and Tyler connect, first in the dream and then in reality. As the dreams reveal more, with clues from the school social structure, quantum physics, probability, and Anna's own past, Anna becomes convinced that they are being shown the future so they can prevent the shooting…
If they can survive the shooter — and the dream.
Based on the short story 'The Edge of Seventeen,' winner of the ITW Thriller award."
-Good Reads

  • Format: Kindle ebook
  • Release date: June 29, 2011
  • Unique elements: suspense that moves the story quickly
  • Would appeal to: fans of Hate List, people who appreciate logic 
Favorite Quotes:

"And her father in the middle of it, stuck to his chair like a huge spider in webbing, the chaos of his mind overflowing into the room, spilling into the house, cluttering the rooms around him."

"Thinking it, Anna feels a pang. She has never had a best friend; she only is familiar with the concept from books, and from seeing the happy pairings of students who seem more like twins than friends. Opposites, usually; you rarely see best friends who look alike, for example. They are rather pairs of dark and light, serious and comical, tall and short. A mirror who completes you."

"'My house,' Tyler says distantly, nodding up the street. She knows where his house is, actually; she's made up errands that would make her take the bus by it, or sometimes she takes an extra bus on the way to work. Stalking, they call it, she's aware."

"Music is blasting, it had started when the car did, Evanescence, scarily appropriate, because she needs to wake up, they both need to wake up...and maybe they are, but maybe they're falling deeper and deeper into sleep."

"She shades her eyes and looks up into the sky, and suddenly she can see hang gliders, bright spots of color diving off a nearby hill in their suicide spirals. It's reckless, insane, especially on a day like today, but she understands the impulse, to let the wind take her, to be free, weightless, invincible for just ten minutes, an hour, a minute."

Never has it been so hard to narrow down my favorite quotes! I had a TON of them. From ten to eight to seven to finally five that I couldn't bear to leave out. I did want to leave some surprises for you as well, so some of the fabulous love scenes were omitted.

This book held my attention from start to finish. Thank you to the lovely author who requested my thoughts on her novel.

Alexandra Sokoloff has a brilliant way with words. I could relate to so much that she was saying. I loved all the polysyndeton (repetition of conjunctions) for effect. The suspense was excruciating.

Imagine going to bed every night and knowing you will dream about your school being shot up. You know the shooter. You have to tell someone.

Your crush, Tyler, is on the stairs in your dream, staring straight at you. When you wake up, the usual panic and sweat registering with your conscious mind, you realize he called your name.

Then at school, you can read each other's minds. He was there. He saw you in the dream. He had the same dream you had.

Craziness that I love! The big questions: how do you stop it and who do you tell? That's what Anna and Tyler must face in The Space Between.

The other reviews I've read say this book has a lot of science in math. Even though I'm an English nut, I really got into the equations and logic. Ms. Sokoloff has a very analytical mind. I loved watching Anna put together all the pieces. The equations helped her figure out the mystery. And there is an added mystery of her mother and why she left when Anna was little. Every time a lightbulb went off in Anna's head, the pieces clicked for me as well (maybe a little sooner once or twice, but this book kept me guessing).

There was some noticable repetition, a lot of people crouching behind desks or in corners, many mentions of nails or fingers digging into skin, and waves of ________ (nausea, shock, sensation, students, panic). But overall, I had a feeling of urgency as I read. The syntax helped with that, lots of commas and conjunctions to emphasize immediacy: "He leans in to her, and his lips touch hers, and the wind surrounds them like a blanket, and she lets herself not think."

I was surprised at how quickly the romantic plotline developed. However, I guess if you share something with a person that is so particulary unique, you kind of feel they get you. I liked Tyler and the fact that he had shoulder length hair. It was so cool that sometimes they talked only with their minds to each other; Anna never knew what thoughts he was listening to. I liked that he was in the "in" crowd but didn't always participate in their student bashing. I was worried at first when he didn't seem to stick up for or talk to Anna around his friends, but he redeemed himself later.

I also liked the end. Oh, and there's a little person in the novel who is constantly teased, but she's very well described. I definitely felt sympathy for her, but Sokoloff's writing reads true to how high schoolers would act.

There's also Anna's veteran father who is an alcoholic and is really messed up as a result of the Gulf War. That's originally what drew me to the story since I have many family members in the military.

Final verdict:

A suspenseful read with unexpected plot twists, Sokoloff mixes mathematics, science, fantasy, and romance with beautifully flowing prose.



Kyle said...

That looks really good! Thanks for the review!

Cecilia said...

Great review! Yeah it was most definitely an awesome book!

Jinky said...

Oh man, my library doesn't have this!!! Fantastic review! Very thorough and insightful. I might take the plunge and buy it. ;)