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White Space: Book One of The Dark Passages Hardcover – February 11, 2014

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The heart-stopping third book in the New York Times bestselling Asylum series follows three teens as they take a senior year road trip to one of America's most haunted cities, uncovering dangerous secrets from their past along the way. See the full series
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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

From Booklist

It’s an interesting premise: Emma Lindsayhas been called into Professor Kramer’s office to face his charge of plagiarism. She has written a short story virtually identical to portions of deceased author Frank McDermott’s unfinished novel, Satan’s Skin. Yet she has never seen the novel, which is stowed away in Edinburgh. How could she copy a portion of a novel she didn’t know existed? Is this yet another blink—a lapse in Emma’s daily routine that takes her into other realities, a possible side effect of the plates in her skull? With allusions to The Matrix, The Bell Jar, and The Shining, to name a few, Bick forces readers to face a complex question: Are Emma and others in the story simply characters in one or more books who somehow got trapped together in the white spaces between pages? Or are they real people? This is hardly an easy read. Bick pushes readers, moving between story lines and points of view with little uniting the disparate threads except Emma herself. With incessant violence and gore, this series starter is for the most hard-core connoisseurs of horror or world-shifting fiction. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn

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Product Details

  • Series: Dark Passages (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606844199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606844199
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tandie on March 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
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 science fiction novel. I consider myself a fairly intelligent reader and I could barely follow the story. I found myself rereading pages, flipping back to reread whole chapters. There were so many different points of view, it made my head spin. New POVs were being introduced even in the last half of the book. The kicker? This book is almost 600 pages long!

This book is touted as being in the tradition of Memento and Inception. I had a huge problem swallowing all the main character's references to The Matrix. "Who do I think I am? Neo?" "Just like Keanu Reeves." There were at least 5 unnecessary allusions to The Matrix. I like that movie by the way. Apparently, so does the author. There were also mentions of Inkheart and Inception. Can you guess that this book is about alternate realities? What is real?

The first chapter hits the ground running into a world where panops, diddlyhumps, swoozels, arguses, & typhons exist. Words pop into being & you can't even guess at their meaning from the context of the sentence. There is no world building, no explaining. This chapter is from a precocious (smarter than her smart parents) five year old's point of view. Um, nope. The next chapter drops us into high school junior Emma's head. She blinks into other realities.

The story jumps all over the place and even when some of the characters meet, we still have no clue what's going on. It felt a lot like channel surfing the TV for hours. I know that the ending was supposed to blow my mind. I think maybe a hard core sci-fi lover might have thought it was clever. Maybe not.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
(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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Krystianna Straley on April 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I had been wanting to read this book for the longest time because it just sounds so amazing. I mean, that synopsis... it just draws you right in! I have to say that the synopsis is a bit misleading though. I went into this story thinking that that a main plot line of the story would be this story that Emma had written, but it honestly wasn't. Just bear that in mind when you give this one a read.

I've seen countless reviews on this novel saying that it was way too confusing for them so they just decided to DNF it. Let me just say, this book was very confusing for about the first 400 pages, but I'm pretty sure that the author intended it to be this way, because towards the end all the answers are revealed to the reader and it all suddenly makes sense. If you're going to read this book, take the confusion with ease and let it twist your mind, because in the end, it will all make sense.

The characters were really great. I have to say that my favorite character would probably be Emma or Eric, just because they were the best. Lizzie was a bit odd and confusing and she definitely didn't talk like a five year old, but then again this book wasn't really realistic so those boundaries could be pushed.

This book was extremely gory. Bick is not afraid to scare you to the point where you have trouble falling asleep at night. Some scenes in this book were extremely graphic and horrific, though Bick does a great job with these scenes. She leaves nothing out. Even though it's gross, it's a huge part of the story.

alice in wonderland so confusing gif

Upon finishing this book, I'm still trying to understand what happened. All I know is that I'm extremely looking forward to reading the next book, especially after that ending. I am just hoping that all of the characters will be in the next book because I want to read more about this gang of characters!
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