Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 24, 2011)
Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.
Until the accident.
Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.
She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.
Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...
Right off, you're introduced to Tess and Abby; and their seemingly opposite worlds while still being sisters only in the technical sense. When Abby spots the most minimal response in Tess when she hears Eli's voice in the hospital, she resolves to use him in order to make her sister wake up so she can finally get out from her shadow. However, what Abby soon discovers is the shield she's used to protect herself--from being hurt, from the capability of letting herself want--disappears as she get to physically see that the girl Eli is admiring is not her perfect sister but the tiny, intense bundle that dragged from working in the gift shop because she believes he's the solution to waking her sister up, once and for all.
As with most of Elizabeth Scott's books--since they're so freaking tiny--I read half of the book--which was 114 pages this time--in one sitting. Why is so addictive, you ask? Well, I can't answer this for every book I've read by her, but I can for Between Here and Forever--which I now just realize is a worthy title for its contents. Anyway, to give some background as to Abby's current predicament: after Tess's car crashed into a tree, she fell into a coma. Abby is currently visiting her at the hospital every afternoon to do anything she can think of to try to wake her up. Her next door neighbor, who used to be Tess's best friend before she was disowned for getting pregnant, is now Abby's best friend. (Yes, Ferrisville--their hometown--is the smallest thing ever.) Claire also works at the hospital Tess is staying at. Later, when Eli does his rounds for delivering desired magazines to patients, his voice triggers an eye twitch from Tess; which, of course, Abby considers it to be a sign of her potential awareness.
Moving on, to let you see what I saw when reading Between Here and Forever, Scott really touches a lot of nerves with this not-even-260-page book. Abby acts as if nothing about her matters, at all...to anyone. All she believes people see is her sister, always her sister. To get out from beneath her shadow, Abby will go--and did go--to great lengths to awaken Tess. Overall, as a character, Abby is a "slow" developer in the deductive department. A lot of the "revelations" that she discovered in the end were quite obvious to me from the beginning just by the re-tellings of her memories of Tess. The fact was that Tess was afraid and Abby was afraid. In that, they were completely the same, and I didn't necessarily appreciate the lack of creativity there. These are the things that I disliked or was completely perplexed by: why did Abby want her sister to wake up if she felt so much resentment? What was with Eli's bizarre background? I understand that in order for him to have any relationship with Abby whatsoever he had to have some similarities to her but to combine racism and OCD? It seemed like Eli was artificially made for Abby, not a natural character at all. And if we're going the psychological route, I would have definitely deducted Tess to be bipolar according to Abby's memories of her many mood swings in and out of their house. In the end, I actually thought that was going to be part of the "secrets" she was hiding. (Plus it would have made a lot more sense in explaining off all the things she did regarding her ex-best friend Claire.)
As for what I did like about Between Here and Forever...Well, while I could have done without a lot of the confusion and muddled thought processes of Abby, Scott wrote a smoothly flowing narrative that made this book addictive and unputdownable. And even though it was hard for Abby to grasp the obvious she was such a strong character that I wanted her to have the "happily ever after" ending. I think what shocked me the most even though it shouldn't have is that Tess was in coma when all of the conflicts and revelations were happening. Frankly, this entire book was about her being in a coma and how it was affecting the people around her; and the fact that she's not awake to see all this happening made me want to laugh. Inappropriate but true. And, in all honesty, but I thought through the majority of this book that if Tess had never gone into a coma, none of this would have transpired. Which I also found hilarious for the wrong reasons. But at the same time, I also think that that in itself is what made Between Here and Forever so realistic. That the one little accident inspired such a chain of events as to avoid the same mistake from happening again. It had that whole "if you don't know your history, your doomed to repeat it" factor going on.
And two nuggets of random I thought I'd include:
--the last page of Chapter 31 was my favorite
--and, "Hate That I Love You" by Rihanna ft. Ne-yo should be listened to while reading BHaF
This ARC was provided by its publisher for my uninfluenced review.