The Space Between by Michelle L. Teichman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Harper Isabelle has a pretty good life: she's beautiful, smart, and popular. Her first year in high school is going quite well, thanks in part to the protective shadow cast by her sister, Bronte, the most popular girl in school. For Sarah Jamieson, however, things aren't exactly as smooth. While Sarah's twin brother Tyler has always been in the in crowd at school, Sarah has not. Between her stutter and style of dress, she's not only on the fringes, she's mocked by other students at school. So imagine Sarah's surprise when Harper shows an interest in her-- and when Sarah herself feels drawn to Harper. Is Harper only interested in Sarah because she wants to date Tyler? Why do the two girls feel so close, as if being drawn together by a magnet?
Overall, this is a dynamo of a book, which I sped through rapidly. It actually builds its storyline rather slowly, as Harper and Sarah deal with their feelings for each other, but I found it that a nice antidote to the usual YA where the characters seem to fall in love overnight. This was similar to some of my own experiences coming out. Harper and Sarah are well-drawn characters who pop on the page -- they are complicated, sweet, and beautiful as they work through the multitude of emotions that comes with falling in love in high school. There is definitely a cheesy element to some of the writing but it really doesn't take away from the experience of watching these girls struggle to find each other. Perhaps the only thing that takes away from the story is a little of the weirdness factor in that Harper also dates Sarah's brother; it manages to work with the story, but it does occasionally give you pause.
Honestly, I was very touched by this book and found it to be a sweet coming of age/coming out story. I wish there had been more of these around when I was going through a similar experience. It does an excellent job of showing some of the difficulty teens still face in dealing with their sexuality in high school (and with their families) today. You'll find yourself quite invested in Harper and Sarah's story. Definitely a worthwhile read.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thanks!); it's available everywhere.
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