Review: Between the Lives

Between the Lives

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Book description (from Goodreads) –

Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.

Until now, that is…

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

ARC Review

Between the Lives is the first novel by Jessica Shirvington that I have read, and I loved it.  I read the entire novel in one sitting because I was so engrossed in the story that there was no way I could stop reading.

Between the Lives has a very interesting and unique storyline.  Main character Sabine has two lives – two different families, two different social groups, two different lifestyles.  The only things that are common to Sabine’s two lives are her name, her memories, and her physicality.  Sabine experiences each day twice: once in the town of Roxbury, where she lives with her parents and younger sister, Maddie, and once in the town of Wellesley, where she lives with her mother and has two older brother’s, Ryan and Lucas.

Every night at midnight Sabine Shifts from one life to the next, and when she Shifts lives, that life will pick up right where it left off – like no time has passed.  Living two lives has never been easy for Sabine but she does manage; however everything changes when Sabine breaks her arm.  Usually if Sabine is sick or injured in one life it will transfer to her other life…except this time it hasn’t.  As Sabine wonders what has changed, she also begins to wonder if she can finally have one life – that maybe, somehow, she could choose her Roxbury life or her Wellesley life.  But if it is possible, which life will she choose?  As Sabine beings to test her theory that she may be able to choose one life, everything begins to unravel.

In her Wellesley life, Sabine has a boyfriend, Dex, and while things are far from perfect between them, she feels that Dex is right for her – at least in her Wellesley life.  In Roxbury, Sabine meets Ethan and begins to develop feelings for him.  Sabine does not want two relationships and having feelings for two men is adding to her already stressful lives.

I was most definitely Team Ethan.  I thought he was so kind and compassionate.  He was a great influence on Sabine.  I disliked Dex; I thought he was selfish and an all-round jerk.  I did not like the way he treated Sabine.  Sabine is a complex character with many layers.  While she is essentially herself in both her lives, there are some differences in her personality, in terms of how she interacts with people in one life compared to the other – which is only natural considering that she does have two lives.  I instantly liked Sabine in her Roxbury life, although it did take me a little while to warm up to her in her Wellesley life.  I think the reason for this is that I felt she was a little more relatable in her Roxbury life.  In Wellesley, I couldn’t understand some of her decisions.  I kept thinking: why are you with Dex, Sabine?

I very much enjoyed Jessica Shirvington’s writing style.  She explains the Shifts from one life to the other that Sabine experiences so well.  It’s very easy to understand what is happening, there is no confusion.  I experienced so many emotions while reading Between the Lives.  It was heart-breaking and heart-warming.  I found myself reaching for the tissues.  After I read Sabine’s story, I found myself still thinking about it days after.

Emotionally raw and intense, Between the Lives emphasises the power and hope of love and highlights just how precious life is.  Unforgettable.


*Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a copy of Between the Lives to review.


Published by:  Harper Collins Australia
Release date:  1st May 2013

13 thoughts on “Review: Between the Lives

  1. I LOVE JESSICA SHIRVINGTON SO MUCH! And Between The Lives was absolutely amazing! So creative and such a complete and complex mythology/magic/sci fi! Did you know Jesscia Shirvington is having an event in Sydney to release her new book Disruption and she’s also going to Melbourne early in April.

  2. It does sound like this story could be confusing if not well written. But I agree that Jess Shirvington’s writing style is amazing – I love her Violet Eden series. Can’t wait to read this one too.
    Love the review 🙂

  3. I have already read Jessica Shirvington’s Violet Eden Chapters and loved them straight away so I was happy to find out that she was writing a new book called Between the Lives…. As soon as I read the description I wanted to read the book straight away and now that I’ve seen this review I want it sooo much more! ❤

  4. Writing style is very important. I took note of the fact that you read this book in one sitting. I love finding books like that. Such a fascinating premise too.

  5. Pingback: Between the Lives Blog Tour – Author Guest Post: Jessica Shirvington + Giveaway | Treasured Tales for Young Adults

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