Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Book Review: The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez (Whitney Finalist)
Author: Jessica Martinez
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: PG-13 for mature subject matter
Amelia is stable, hardworking, and a credit to her father, a pastor of a conservative congregation in Florida. Her younger sister, Charly, is wild and impulsive, and often needs Amelia to help her get out of scrapes. But when Charly learns that she's pregnant, Amelia has to make a sacrifice she's not sure she's willing to make. Their grandmother ships the girls off to Canada, where their deceased mother grew up, so Charly can deliver her baby in secret. Amelia is her beard-- if Charly went to Canada by herself it would look suspicious, so Amelia gives up field hockey, her friends, and her senior year of high school to spend the winter in Banff.
This was definitely the strongest of the YA novels this year. It reminded me of a good Carol Lynch Williams story-- where the conflict is more in Amelia's head (Can she forgive Charly? Are some secrets good? What will she do with her own life? Is she her sister's keeper?). This is the kind of book that I would have considered a gem even outside the context of the awards reading.
As an aside, I hadn't thought of this before starting this review, but there are some interesting parallels betwee The Space Between Us and Of Grace and Chocolate, even down to the dead mother.