Author: LJ Cohen
Genre: YA Fantasy
From the author’s website: My greatest joy in writing is seeing a world brought to life in the imagination of the reader. The act of creating is a collaborative one, needing both the reader and the writer to complete. My abiding wish is that you enter the landscape of my words, in the spirit of that partnership, and find something that speaks to you. I have been a reader since childhood, counting the characters of my favorite books as old friends. Now, as a writer, it is my opportunity to come full circle and create that experience for you.
Lydia Hawthorne thinks she is a typical high school senior – she’s a big sister and responsible daughter who’s biggest concern is convincing her parents to help her buy a car. Her world is forever changed one afternoon when the creepy Clive pulls her out of danger and into the land of Faerie. Forced to accept the existence of another world, Lydia is shocked to learn not only is she Fae, but she’s a rare trueborn with enough magic to be a major player in the tension between the Bright and Shadow courts.
Pulled in every direction but toward the home she loves, Lydia must quickly find a way to navigate the complicated Fae politics and to manage her own burgeoning magical talent. Focused on protecting her home and family and finding help in unlikely places, Lydia must race against time to prevent a war that could consume not only Faerie but the Mortal world as well.
In The Between, Cohen blends a strong and fiery female heroine, complex family relationships and ethereal fantasy world into a delightful read for teens and adults alike. I think my favorite part of this novel is the absence of a gooey teen romance. There are plenty of relationships and explorations of family, but Cohen deviates from the typical young adult fantasy formula of girl meets paranormal boy, falls in love and laments over their love for half the novel. I enjoy these books, but was really thrilled to see a different take on the YA fantasy genre. She also looks critically at many different families, offering windows into both functional and seriously disfunctional families.
We spend very little time in Lydia’s world before Clive sweeps her away to Faerie early in the novel. I found myself wishing more time was spent to situate the reader in the utter normalcy of Lydia’s home life so we have a better sense of what she stands to lose when she’s pulled away from everything she loves. We discover more about her family relationships later in the story, but I wished I had more context for her life at the very beginning of the novel.
That said, I found The Between a fast-paced adventure with wonderful characters and a captivating fantasy world. Cohen’s enjoyable and accessible writing style pulled me immediately into Lydia’s world and I am eager to see where she will go next!
I was very pleased to receive an Advance Release Copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.