Monday, September 14, 2015

The Space Between Heartbeats - Melissa Pearl

4 Stars
Published: September 2015 originally published October 2012
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
This book is currently free on Kindle Unlimited and just $3.99 to buy!

Amazon Goodreads
Nicole is trapped between life and death, her body stuck down an embankment after a party, and no one seems to care she's gone. She's beautiful, popular, and has a good looking bad-boy boyfriend. Except none of these friends of hers believe she's missing. The guy next door, Dale Finnegan, can see her, but does she want him to? She's called him Scarface since he joined their school, made fun of him and singled him out. Dale helps her anyway, searching for her body and trying to encourage the town to look for the girl that everyone really believes has run away. Stuck as a ghostly form, Nicole finds out who her real friends are and how much she cares for her family as she fights to get her life back.

Originally titled Betwixt, The Space Between Heartbeats is my favorite type of paranormal/YA read. If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver are two books similar to this one. I enjoy the moment the characters find their true selves, knowing that their friends aren't right for them, and that their decisions have not been in their own best interest. Melissa Pearl did an excellent job of getting right to the plot and every moment after reveals something new. I liked that we learn the background story to why Nicole is how she is over time and see her moment of clarity very clearly.  While the story about friends being fake is common, the between life moments and big reveal surprised me.

The relationship between Dale and Nicole hovers between realistic and too fast. While she's a ghost, Dale admits his feelings slowly to her and Nicole recognizes how attractive he is and what a good person he is. However, their move from flirting as ghost and human to dating in human form is quick. The secondary characters of Nicole's friends are very forced and cliche.

Overall, The Space Between Heartbeats is a fast-paced, emotional read. It's about second chances and discovering who you really are and want to be. I read this over a period of two hours and I highly recommend it to others, especially young adult readers.

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