First impressions: The book opens with Lindsey in a car, kissing her boyfriend and not really enjoying it all that much. Hilarious and sweet, and it made me like Lindsey a lot. Then the action picks up and before you know it, Lindsey is dead. It's a great beginning that keeps you glued to the pages.
Lasting impressions: What will stick with me the most about this book, unfortunately, is how offensive I found its moralizing.
Conflicting impressions: This book was full of inconsistency in the characters and their choices. The decisions made stretched the bounds of plausibility for me, so I wasn't able to fully invest in what was happening.
Overall impressions: I really, truly wanted to like this book. It's a Scottish boy who falls in love with his very own Sassenach (Outlander) and sort of time travels with her! Plus, Lindsey is a college student, and I'm all about more YA fiction for the college set. It had everything going for it, but just couldn't deliver.
My first problem with this story was the insta-love. MAJOR case of it going on here. Lindsey dies in a car wreck, is whisked away by Aiden to this "between" place on her way to heaven. At no time does she seem overly concerned about being dead. She's sad, sure, but not sad enough to miss the fact that Aiden is smoking hot and she kind of wants his bod. This didn't really ring true for me. If I found out I was dead, I would not automatically be concerned with the attractiveness of my reaper.
Lindsey decides that she's really upset about going to heaven still a virgin. And Aiden gets all uppity about deflowering a maiden and it really wasn't working for me. Aiden came off as more jerky than chivalrous or old timey. I get that he would find modern female behavior strange, but when he gets Lindsey make believe drunk and she starts flirting with him he basically calls her a whore. And she doesn't immediately tell him to eff off and run away to heaven. Bad move, Lindsey!
It touched a nerve. On the one hand, Aiden is skinny dipping and lusting after her, but on the other he doesn't want to take her maidenhead or have her acting too much like a floozy. I mean, what a turnoff, right? (Insert eyeroll sprain here.) Similarly, Lindsey is supposed to be a college aged nice girl virgin, but yet she jumps in naked in the lake with Aiden and sleeps with him, and later practically gives him a lap dance after some drinking. Where is the conflict here? She has no qualms about giving up her virginity in the afterlife? It seemed inconsistent with my idea of Lindsey and so I couldn't figure out who these characters were supposed to be.
I admit that I had a very personal reaction early on that may have colored my perceptions a bit. Cyndi Tefft really lost me when describing Aiden's story. Aiden explains that the reason he's spent 300 years transporting souls to heaven while not going there himself is because he committed suicide and God was mad at him. Later in the book, there's another discussion of suicide with similar blatant moralizing about how all suicide victims are selfish and cowardly.
I realize that this is almost always true, but I don't need it flung in my face. The whole concept was handled in a clunky way at best, and in an offensive way at worst. I have been personally touched by suicide, and so having the basis of Aiden's position be a punishment for his suicide just didn't sit well with me. At all. But that's just me, and it may not bother most readers.
The time travel elements were fun to read, though I had a hard time getting into them knowing they weren't actually happening and were memories instead. I did like the idea of "casting," where the characters in Between can make their own reality by just imagining what they want. It was a cool world and an interesting story of two people facing the ultimate obstacle. The story does take an interesting twist into new territory about halfway through, but a lot of the side characters and backstory didn't add much to Lindsey and Aiden's tale. If I had been able to get past the preaching and really believe in these characters and their love I may have enjoyed this book, but in the end I couldn't and I didn't.
Rating: 1/5 stars
Want a different perspective? Read this rave review by Steph: Short & Sweet.
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