Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: The Girl In Between by Laekan Zea Kemp

Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

My Review

This was my first time reading anything by this author, and after reading The Girl In Between, I've now added another author to my watch list.  While the story starts off slowly, it continues to gradually build while keeping you intrigued enough to want to figure out exactly what is really going on.  It starts to pick up and really build the suspense about 60% in, and kept me engrossed because I desperately wanted to find out what the heck was going on.  If you start this book and get frustrated at the slow buildup, please-just stick it out, it will be worth it.

Bryn's character was pretty cool-even though she is only seventeen, due to her circumstances she seems much more mature.  She is strong-honestly, she'd have to be in order to live through her life with her diagnosis.  The supporting members of her family are written well; they have their own problems that help add depth to the overall story...not only do their situations add depth to their own characters, they also contribute to Bryn's own story as well (I really liked Felix and Dani's storyline).  Drew...well let's just say I'm not a fan of his and you can see for yourself why once you read the book.

The he is a fantastic character that you can't help but feel overwhelming sympathy for, and who you hope will discover who he is and where he fits in.  It is so sweet how things develop between him and Bryn, and her commitment to figuring out exactly who he is while still having to deal with her own worsening situation is admirable and will have you wanting them to work everything out.  In other words, the author has created two main characters who you will feel invested in and care for-and written their intertwining stories to keep you totally absorbed and on the edge of your seat.

You may think this is a modern-day Sleeping Beauty book with Bryn being the sleeper, but to me the sleeper is really the boy.  The tension and suspense keeps building until the final scene where you'll be wishing and hoping everything will work out (while running out of pages for it to do so)-and which had me scrambling to look for the next book once I was done (I was so relieved to see there was a book 2, you have no idea!).  

4.5 stars for this suspenseful and intriguing story, and I'd recommend it for 16+...even though the main characters are YA, I would consider this more of a mature YA due to language.

Many thanks to the author who provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As of today, The Girl In Between is currently free!  You can pick up this fascinating book at any of these links:

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