Top critical review
Better than Some of Her Others
on March 13, 2013
I run hot and cold with Elizabeth Scott. The first book of hers I ever read was Stealing Heaven, which I LOVED! Then I bought just about everything she had ever written, because I loved that book so much. After that, though, I wasn't too impressed with her other books. Some were really dark, like Living Dead Girl, which was a hard book to get through because the content was so upsetting. Then there was The Unwritten Rule, which wasn't dark, but was just "meh". So I have struggled with buying her new books, but I decided to just go for it. While Between Here and Forever wasn't as good is Stealing Heaven (big shoes to fill), it was certainly one of her better books. It made me decide to give Elizabeth Scott another chance!
Abby has always been in her sister Tess's shadow, but since Tess's accident, Abby has been just as lost. Tess was always the together one, the gorgeous one, and the smart one. Abby was just, well, Abby. Now Abby and her parents spend every day in the hospital next to Tess's bed waiting for her to wake up. When a beautiful young man walks into the hospital room, Abby sees Tess's eye move a little. She is convinced this beautiful boy will bring Tess back and enlists his help to wake her up. While this boy, Eli, seems skeptical at first, he agrees to help.
Although it seems Eli isn't helping Tess, he certainly is helping Abby. For once, she isn't always thinking about Tess and is actually interested in someone (although she still swears he likes Tess more than her). While Abby is convinced Eli and Tess are made for each other, she soon learns there is more to Eli than she noticed earlier, and life isn't so easy for him, beautiful person or not. She also begins to learn the truth about who her sister was and what really happened at the end of her life. These revelations are important because they give Abby a chance to find her own life outside of Tess's shadow, as well as a chance at happiness.
This was a very interesting book because it explored how much a girl can know and not know about her own sister. Sometimes we keep our biggest secrets from those people we love the most. Here, we see a younger sister assuming her older sister's life is perfect and never realizing just how in pain she really is. The relationship between the two girls, told entirely in flashbacks since Tess is in a coma, is very realistic and sad. The good thing is you will be very excited for Abby as the book goes on and she matures. Eli and his grandfather are such lovable supporting characters, they will make you love the book even if you struggle to relate to Abby and Tess.
The language is mild in this book, but there are a few references to intimacy here and there. They aren't graphic or even talked about in any detail, just casual references used to flesh out the plot. The story would be appropriate for any girl, middle school through high school, who is interested in relationships and family. The secret Tess is hiding, her attraction and relationships with women, is developed in an interesting way, showing her inability to admit it to herself as well as her family. This might be a good place to have conversations about who we are and why we are proud of that in many different aspects of our lives. In all, this was a pretty good book, and I would pass it on to a student I thought it would appeal to.