Somehow, despite being in the same writing group as Rachel Sanderson for the past five years, I’ve never really sampled much of her writing until this year. I was so excited when she announced that she had published The Space Between, and grabbed myself a copy straight away. I’m glad to say I really enjoyed reading it; it’s a fantastic YA page-turner.
What should be a regular weekend away camping turns into a nightmare when Erica’s best friend, Daina, goes missing. Coming to terms with Daina’s loss also means coming to terms with the fact that she didn’t know all there was to know about her best friend, as well as trying to navigate messy relationships with both family and friends in the wake of tragedy.
The atmosphere in this book was what struck me the most. There’s a real rawness underneath everything. When Erica ached, I ached. I really felt under her skin. She did sometimes make decisions that I raised my eyebrows at and didn’t really support, but her actions were no more outlandish than a lot of other YA characters’, so it didn’t irk me too much. And they did help to move the plot forward, so there was that.
The writing style is fantastic, and very readable. The pacing is good throughout and I found the book hard to put down. The set-ups for later revelations about Daina, Erica and their families were done well so when those revelations came about, they made a lot of sense without the story feeling predictable. There were a few moments towards the end where I felt myself tearing up a little; as I said, I felt really close to Erica and really had a sense of her loss.
While I don’t read a huge amount of contemporary YA, this is one I would definitely recommend (and not just because I know the author either 😉 )
One missing girl. Two families' secrets. The truth will change everything.
A weekend camping trip goes horribly wrong when seventeen-year-old Daina Valaitis vanishes without a trace.
In the aftermath of Daina's disappearance, her best friend Erica finds herself falling apart - and falling in love with Daina's brother.
Torn apart by grief and guilt, Erica embarks on a desperate search to discover what really happened to her friend.
But what she learns - about Daina, their families, and herself - will change her life forever.
This gripping, heartbreaking young adult novel was shortlisted for the 2016 Ampersand Prize and the 2018 ACT Book of the Year Award.
Please note: This book is suitable for older readers. It contains sex scenes, drug use and swearing.