This book came with a lot of surprises. I had no idea what to expect. All I was building upon was that it’s about two sisters who are very close until an incident tears them apart. That was pretty much based on the synopsis that accompanies it. As it is, this story offers so much more and I am glad that the pink overload on the cover did not turn me off. Firstly, I liked that the foundation of the book was the relationship between sisters. Most of the time I end up reading books about friends, and if siblings are featured, they’re not necessarily central to the story that unfolds. Here, their lives are so closely intertwined, it becomes too close for comfort for both Amelia and Charly. What came a bit as a surprise to me was that their father turned out to be a pastor. While religion is largely peripheral to the story, it offers a fair bit of reasons and explanations as to the choices that are made. In that sense then, the setting up of the background and history of the family is very solid and lends to the believability, if you will, of the entire story.
As the elder sibling, Amelia is the serious one. She is highly driven and ambitious, setting her sights on Columbia University. A straight-A student with a wider range of extracurriculars sets her in huge contrast to her younger sister, Charly, who is much more concerned with playing around. Charly does have one passion though and that the stage. She loves to sing and to act, although her grandmother does not support her at all in that area. The contrast between these two makes their relationship all the more interesting because nobody knows what to expect next. Charly especially does the craziest things, to the point that I would cringe or just burst out laughing to myself. Despite being larger than life, I could totally imagine Charly as a person in real life. Both Amelia and Charly are relatable which definitely helps to draw in the reader and also made me care about their plights.
I think The Space Between Us is a refreshingly balanced read that deals with tough issues surrounding teenage pregnancy. In it reader recognize that life doesn’t stop and decisions must be made. Options are clearly laid out with their implications explored as well. Antagonizing emotions are brought to the page and dealt with as well. When it comes to the revelation of Charly’s secret though, perhaps more weight could have been given to it. Had that been done, this novel would have become an indisputable favourite of mine.Fuller review here.