Book Review : Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

August 7, 2014 Book review 10 ★★★½

Parallel lives, sliding doors style themes; I can’t get enough of them.  So I was excited to read this book and throw myself into the dual lives.  Double the lives, double the fun, right?  My feelings though are a little bit split, I really liked it but didn’t love it.

Book Review : Between the Lives by Jessica ShirvingtonBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington
Published by Hachette Children's Books on 7 Aug 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley


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 which bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?

First Line of Between The Lives:

“I am a liar.”

My Thoughts on Between The Lives:

This book while it has a paranormal theme, feels contemp-heavy and para-light.  Which makes it an enjoyable read, if you like contemporary books and I do.  I did however feel a little bit let down as I would like more explanation as to why Sabine has two split lives.  It was just presented as normal but I would have appreciated more sci-fi details.  More ifs, whats and whys.

On the other hand, I really liked the main character – Sabine.  She is at a crossroads in both her lives and neither of them are fully satisfying her.  And two ok-ish lives does not add up to one good life.  Far from it, she hates that she has to leave one life at mid-night and shift into her other life.

Her reaction to the shifts confused me.  She is physically sick before and after the shift even though she has been shifting all her life.  OK, it must be confusing as hell.  But her physical reaction seems a little OTT to me.  But then again maybe if I had to shift lives, I’d feel the same.  Dunno, it hasn’t happened yet!

I loved how when Sabine discovered a glitch between the worlds that she very logically worked out a list of experiments to do.  I love this kind of stuff!  It’s geeky and pretty smart of her.  It was when I saw her list that I fully got behind her as a character.  It took a bit of guts to carry out her plans but she was resolute in doing just that.  I also liked how she worked out a way to adapt to both lives; she was slightly different in each of them.  But the biggest similarity was how she moulded herself to be whatever people wanted her to be and I enjoyed seeing her grow beyond that.

There is a cute romance going on which adds a nice fluffy feel to the book.  Ethan was another character who dealt in facts and I appreciated that about him.  It is clear while reading the book that Ethan has his own secrets but when they were finally revealed, I felt a bit crestfallen.  One of those moments where you want to say ‘stop, too much!’.  And it did take a little from the book for me.

The ending though made up for it.  I like that it was left open ended and left me free to speculate what would happen next.  I’m not sure if this is a stand-alone but if not I’d happily read the next book as despite my issues my overall impression of this book is a positive one.

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-half-stars
Who should read Between The Lines :

If you liked books like Pivot Point by Kasie West, Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young, and Parallel by Lauren Miller then you should also enjoy this one.  It has a heavy contemporary feel to it so if you like YA Contemporary books then I’d also recommend this one to you even if you don’t read a lot of YA paranormal books.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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10 Responses to “Book Review : Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington”

    • trish

      I know what you mean Lola. I think if the world-building was just a little more detailed, it would have lifted the whole book. But I did still really enjoy it.

    • trish

      Thanks Rita, that was my feeling too. If the Sci-Fi element had a bit more world building then this would have been an excellent book. But at least I still really enjoyed it.

  1. Cayce

    “contemp-heavy and para-light.” – that’s spot on, Trish! I LOVED Between the Lives so I’m really happy to see that you enjoyed it too 🙂 I liked the open ending, but wish it wasn’t needed…. (Ethan *sobs*)

    • trish

      I know Cayce, I LOVED Ethan 🙁 I always love these dual lives type books as the possibilities just capture my imagination. Glad you really enjoyed it too!

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