Falling In Between

Falling In BetweenBy Devon Ashley

Publisher: Dark Horse
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Author

Finally! A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a pond in my undies and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life. Yay me! (yeah, that’s sarcasm)

Yep, that pretty much sums up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She drowns after jumping off a cliff, meets a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between and is brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert.

Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she’d been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly appears in her dream every time she closes her eyes. So it’s Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong?

Absolutely nothing – until she comes face to face with the guy she met in the in-between, and realizes her romantic rendezvous with Chance may be more than just her imagination.

(Mature YA. Recommended for older teenagers.)

Goodreads Summary

Jenna has been drooling over Robert, the hot guy in her Lit class, for months. Her roommate Sophie has a plan to get them together, only it involves sneaking off to the pond where Robert and his roommate Jhett hang out and oh yeah, jumping off of a cliff into a pool first to work up their nerve? Jenna’s not totally on board with that part, especially when she sees the thirty foot drop, but she goes for it only to hit bottom hard enough to see what feels like something not quite the hereafter but close to it. In there she finds a boy named Chance who doesn’t seem to know why he’s there either or how to move forward or back – but Jenna is yanked away from him by pain in her chest, pain caused by Robert administering CPR and bringing her back.

Robert makes it clear that he wants to date her, but Jenna puts tight restrictions on their relationship: no sex and limited intimacy of any other kind either. Meanwhile, each night, Jenna dreams of Chance, dreams where she flirts and allows him to do things she’d never allow Robert to. She figured out fairly quickly that her visits with Chance weren’t real, but once she actually “loses” her virginity to Chance, she feels like she has to compensate with an act for Robert without letting him reciprocate. She’s balancing two boys, not sure if she can or should love either one, especially when she doesn’t believe one exists.

I don’t know that there was an enormous mystery to be solved, or maybe I’ve watched too much spooky television. I was more interested in trying to figure out who Jenna was and why she made such contradictory choices sometimes. As a ward of the state, Jenna’s only at the fancy prep school she, Sophie, Robert and Jhett attend as a result of a scholarship extended to poor kids. She has issues with love, but she clearly loves Sophie and is at least very fond of her family. She has issues with intimacy and the physical expression of it, yet she drops to her knees in front of Robert fairly easily and often, something I would consider extremely intimate and physical. There’s an obvious freedom she feels in her time with Chance – she says and does things that I couldn’t see her doing with Robert – but it only makes me wonder more, who’s the real Jenna?

One of the things I did love about Jenna was her relationship with Sophie. They were so normal – sharing clothes, whining about alarm clocks and who’d need to leave the room so the other could be with their boyfriend. The little touches about campus life like the separation of dorms, the library and commons also added to the atmosphere and gave me the occasionally creepy flashback.

For me, there wasn’t really any contest between the guys, although both had their charms. Chance was flirty and funny, always knowing just how to push Jenna so she wouldn’t say no. Robert was patient, liked to tease Jenna but always respected the rules she set up about touching and sex. I don’t know if he could be called secondary or not, but Robert may have been my favorite character. I’d have loved to have alternating POVs from both Jenna and Robert.

My Summary: Despite not really always having a handle on Jenna, I still tore through this book in one sitting and enjoyed it. It was a sweet story – okay, with a handful of spice – that may not have had my jaw dropping from a plot twist but I did want to jump into the book and give a character a good shake which is just as good to me. I liked the little “a bit later” chapter at the end and the bittersweet little taste of a scene in there. Both were a nice touch and a little look at how Jenna had grown up.

My Rating: B-

*If you’re thinking about buying this or passing it along to a younger teen, definitely take serious note of the “mature YA” label. The sex inside isn’t graphic, but it’s a major theme and there are a handful of specific scenes. A teen pregnancy is mentioned and the prep school also hands out boxes of condoms to all the boys.

 

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