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White Space: Book One of The Dark Passages [Kindle Edition]

Ilsa J. Bick
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the written lines.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it's as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she's real.

Then she writes "White Space," a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard.

Unfortunately, "White Space" turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she's never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she's dropped into the very story she thought she'd written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they--and Emma--may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose.

Now what they must uncover is why they've been brought to this place--a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written--before someone pens their end.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—One of the marks of a classic horror story is the slow and insidious shifting of the rules within the tale's universe. Bick understands the power of this trope and uses it relentlessly in this sophisticated horror novel for older teens. A brilliant five-year-old watches her novelist father call horrors from a powerful mirror. A high school junior with static-filled gaps in her memory pens a horror tale, one that had already been written decades ago. A psychically gifted girl accepts a ride from a troubled but sweet boy. A marine and his younger brother head out on snowmobiles after accidentally killing their abusive father. Fleeing their separate nightmares, the cast assembles in a fog-bound, snow-filled valley from which there seems to be no escape. Lovecraft-inspired monsters inflict gruesome deaths and time and space are unreliable in this mind-bending narrative. Slowly, it's revealed that no one is quite who they thought they were, and the boundaries of this universe are definitely falling apart. Continuous references to fictional time and space travelers (The Matrix's Neo, A Wrinkle in Time's Meg Murray) add intricacy, leading characters to wonder if they themselves are made up. Bick is a master of the genre, balancing tension, terror, and tedium through repetition and fractured storytelling. White Space is filled with echoes of other horror stories, but the author manages to hold on to her own narrative voice, playing on readers' expectations through a series of reveals, some just predictable enough to inspire a false sense of security. The first of a series, it also can stand alone.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

About the Author

Ilsa J. Bick is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of The Ashes Trilogy (Ashes, Shadows, Monsters), Draw the Dark, Drowning Instinct, and The Sin-Eater's Confession. Visit her online at or and followe her on Facebook and Twitter @ilsajbick.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1821 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (February 11, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EMX82IS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,623 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, March 9, 2014
By Sarah
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and Edelweisss.)
Lizzie lives in a world where things from the imagination can be pulled through the ‘Dark Passages’ (no I don’t know what that means), and into/onto the ‘White Space’ (Could be paper, but could be something else – again I’m not sure).
Lizzie’s father uses the Dark Passages when writing his books, and without Lizzie’s parents knowledge, Lizzie does too.
Emma is in a car with her friend Lily. She suffers from ‘blinks’ where she is transported to another world at times. Emma has a ‘blink’ whilst driving, and then a blizzard causes her to crash.
Emma is saved from the wreck of her van by a man named Eric, and his brother Casey, and then things really start getting weird.

So I’ve read this whole book, it’s taken me the best part of 10 hours, and I’m still not really sure what the hell was going on at all.

This book was just bizarre; all the way through I was wondering what the hell was going on, and whether I was actually supposed to know what the hell was going on. This book was just jumbled. There were parts from multiple different points of view, and they were all kind-of flung in there together, and it was so difficult to work out what was happening to who, and how that correlated with what was happening to other people.

We had this storyline about the white space and dark passages, but then we also had a story about a girl being run off the road in a blizzard, and it was very difficult to understand how these two stories went together. To top this all off, we had really bizarre things going on, and things that really belonged in a horror story – spooky things, creepy things, murder, blood, monsters etc.
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WHITE SPACE is a little confusing at first. I'll admit that. But get through the first 100 pages and you will be blown away. Imagine if the author Michael Grant (of GONE series) met up with Cecilia Funke (of INKHEART) and they sat together and wrote a book...WHITE SPACE would be it. WHITE SPACE tells the story of multiple characters, multiple words and intense dark trippy horror. The ending shocked me and I felt as though I had to go back and reread from the I did!

Though it was confusing at the beginning, I was intrigued by the idea. There are multiple protagonists who end up in one world together and learn things that shock them. Things that when I learned them, too, I was blown away by the brilliance. Emma, Lizzie, etc. were fascinating to read about and I loved the sharp humor. I also loved the going through different worlds idea and the creepy mental institution. And oh my goodness I must repeat...THAT ENDING!!!!!! A shocker!!

Now...when does Book 2 come out?!
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4.0 out of 5 stars So. Cool. February 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Okay, so I need to admit something straight out: I had no idea what was going on for the longest time in this book! From the very first page, I was dropped right into this completely CRAZY world and it took a little time to get used to. But I will say this: even when I was confused and hadn’t really grasped why things were the way they were, I was LOVING this story.

This book was like a drug and I couldn’t get enough!

There were always unanswered questions that I’d have to root out the answers to. And by root out I mean I’d just keep reading until they were finally answered for me down the road, because Ilsa is some mad genius that created this INCREDIBLE idea of a story. Inception in book-form really is the perfect description. Only instead of dream-worlds there are book-worlds and it all BLEW MY BLEEPING MIND!

I really was scared starting the story that I wouldn’t be able to get into it. I was lost in the unfamiliar and unique terms that were thrown out like I should already know what they mean. And when I first met each of the characters they had the story swapping between their points of view and cutting off in the middle of sentences and tense scenes and it KILLED me. BUT the more I read, the more accustomed to that style of writing I became and the more I appreciated–and ultimately LOVED–it.

Somehow, even though there is a whole SLEW of characters, they were written in a way that they latched onto me and didn’t let go–I love them ALL! Well, all except Chad . . . I didn’t particularly connect with him. But everyone else? Yeah, by seeing the story through glimpses of Tony, Rima, Casey, Eric, Lizzie, Bode, and Emma’s perspectives? I was EATING IT UP!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 560-page, mind-bending adventure March 7, 2014
Reviewed by Amy Alessio

In WHITE SPACE, notable author Ilsa J. Bick brings readers a 560-page, mind-bending adventure with many characters and layers. WHITE SPACE is a challenging read with some confusing points, but it has many good aspects and a strong last section. Readers who stick with it will be rewarded with more clarity and action close to the end. A bit of a cliffhanger ending will leave some more questions that this talented author will likely address these in the next installment.

Emma has metal plates in her head and now “blinks,” meaning she is inserted into someone’s life for periods at a time. When she experiences a blink while driving in a snowstorm, she crashes the car, killing her friend Lily.

Coming to her rescue are brothers Eric and Casey, who just rescued themselves from an abusive father. Eric takes Emma for help, while Casey stays behind with two other good Samaritans, Rima and Tony, and the three of them realize something is supernatural --- and dangerous --- about the storm.

Erica and Emma find two soldiers at a nearby farmhouse. They talk about Vietnam and have plates from Wyoming, though they are currently in Wisconsin in modern times. Throughout the rescue section of the book readers are also introduced to a little girl named Lizzie and her parents, who dabbled in mysterious other forces. For example, her father used a Dicken’s Mirror to pull words into his bestselling, dark books.

Emma crosses into their story when she gets in trouble for plagiarizing one of Lizzie’s father’s stories. But she’s never read it; in fact it was unfinished and never published. The story was called “White Space,” and Emma does not know how she got those words.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars What's going in.
Most reviews I read have description of what the book is about.
It's very misleading and truthfully it took me four days to read this book and grasp what the author was trying... Read more
Published 2 months ago by fruitkisser
3.0 out of 5 stars Surreal and Wonderful
This book was weird. In no way is that a bad thing, because this book kept me guessing about what was real--and even about what could be real and if anything was real--right up to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by tld
1.0 out of 5 stars This book should come with a GPS.
Other reviews have gone into detail about this book so I won't. Suffice it to say that I probably need to read it again because even though I finished it, I have NO idea what this... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Megan
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to Follow
I absolutely adore most of Ilsa J. Bick’s novels, but this one was just so hard to read. It begins with Lizzie’s story and, truth be told, it doesn’t make much sense. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A Book Vacation
1.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed
White Space was terribly disappointing for me. It certainly didn't read like young adult fiction. The characters were the right age, but it was more like a super-complicated... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tandie
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read
Such a well-written book with so many details that I felt I could see the scenes in front of me. Of course, at some times, that was quite disturbing given the scary scenes, but... Read more
Published 5 months ago by MaryEH
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea, but didn't do it for me
First let me say that I really really wanted to like this audiobook but Bick failed to capture my attention, I do not have a good reason why, just wasn't for me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by AudioBookReviewer
2.0 out of 5 stars White Space
White Space is the first book in Ilsa J. Bick's new Dark Passages series.

To say that this book and I didn't get along is an understatement, from the very first page I... Read more
Published 5 months ago by sarah brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, creative YA horror
This review appears on [...]

All the negative and DNF reviews intrigued me to be honest, and I really wanted to give White Space a good, hot go. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
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More About the Author

Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I'm supposed to write things like, "Ilsa J. Bick is (fill in the blank)." Except I hate writing about myself in the third person like I'm not in the room. Helloooo, I'm right here . . . So let's just say that I'm a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right), a wannabe surgeon, a former Air Force major--and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books and novels. Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than I . . . unless you talk to my mother.

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