Saturday 30 April 2016

Review on The Space Between

Harper Isabelle is the most popular girl in her grade. All the boys want to date her and all the girls want to be her friend. Her freshman year of high school is going perfectly. That is until she meets Sarah Jamieson, a girl who hides behind a thick layer of dark make up and constantly gets bullied. When Harper befriends Sarah, she soon comes to realise there is more to this girl than meets the eye. As their relationship progresses, Harper must choose between her popularity and being with Sarah.

 I was immediately drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover, and when I found out that it was a YA lesbian romance novel I knew that I had to read it! The story follows Harper Isabelle, a girl in her freshman year of high school who has always followed in her older sister Bronte's footsteps. I loved that the sisters were named after famous classic authors, and although I could not relate to Harper's popularity, I did relate to her love of classic literature and the expectations put on her by others.

Harper's romantic relationships have always been set up for her by her older sister, and consequently she has never felt any romantic feelings towards any of the boys she has dated. However, she soon develops a crush on Sarah Jamieson, a girl in her class who wears black make up and gets bullied. I loved that Harper was confused about her feelings towards Sarah, as she had been brought up being told that she was meant to want to date guys. I loved the build up to their relationship and seeing things from both of the girls point of view.

However, once they had admitted their feelings for each other around the middle of the book I felt as if nothing much happened apart from cute dates and a little angst. The majority of the book seemed like a cute fan fiction that would be tagged as fluff, and although it was adorable I felt that it was extremely cliché, and the fact that it was a lesbian romance was the only thing that kept me interested.

Sarah's brother Tyler was one of the most interesting characters, as my feelings towards him kept changing throughout the book. I hated what he did to Harper, but I also felt sympathetic as he had started to develop genuine feelings for Harper only to be cheated on. However I was glad that he was able to redeem himself towards the end.

Although I did overall like Harper, I hated that she was trying to force Sarah to come out to her parents. As Sarah comes from a deeply religious Christian family, it may not have been safe for her to come out. Sadly many teenagers get physically abused or thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents, and I felt as if Harper should have respected her decision to not come out rather than threatening to break up with her if she refused.

There is a highly pessimistic view on coming out, and the majority of books and tv shows that represent coming out to their family show the process in a negative light with the parents reacting in a homophobic and unaccepting manner. I was disappointed that this was also the case for Harper, as I feel as if it is important for gay teenagers to see families act positively too, as not all families will react negatively, and it is important to show that sometimes coming out doesn't have to end in emotional or physical abuse.

I felt as if the epilogue left out a couple of plot points I was looking forward to finding out, such as if Sarah ever came out to her parents and what their reaction was, along with if Harper's parents ever came to terms with her being gay. Although I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I was going to, it still made for a light and fluffy read, which made a nice change to the emotional trauma that I usually put myself through.

The Space Between is now available to purchase!

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