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I Belong


Review: Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

Infinite in BetweenTitleInfinite in Between

AuthorCarolyn Mackler

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061731072 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061731075 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. But so much can happen in those in-between years. . . .

Zoe fears she will always be in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregorthought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.”

Quick & Dirty: A unique coming of age novel that I connected with.

Opening Sentence: In the beginning the five of them made a promise.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The Infinite In Between follow five characters: Zoe, Jake, Gregor, Mia, and Whitney. All live drastically different lives. Zoe is daughter of an alcoholic movie star. She doesn’t know her father and her mother’s PR problem is beginning to affect her. Jake is coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay and is trying to find himself. Mia is shy, too shy to interact with the people she observes. She watches from a distance but is never a part of anything. And Whitney is bubbly, popular, and beautiful – from the outside, her life is great. If only they knew what she’s been going through. Gregor is falling in love from afar, and then his life changes when he is overcome by a loss. These very different people meet at freshman orientation and promise to meet up after graduation. Little do they know the ways their lives will connect and develop over the next years.

The Infinite In Between is not a contemporary for those who enjoy focuses on trauma, tragedy, or huge romances. Don’t get me wrong – it has its fair share of those three things – but more than anything, its a coming of age novel. All five characters are growing into who they are throughout the four years of high school. Its a cool story because you really get a glimpse into the connections that bind us unconsciously. For me, going through high school and dealing with the stresses of social life, I did enjoy, and academics, this book struck a nerve in certain areas. It helped to remind me that feelings that have been overwhelming me are not taking place in me alone. It helped me to look at others with a different eye, because the book revealed that everyone has more depth than the surface reveals.

The characters were all very different and very complex. Take Mia, the shy one of the group, the observer. She’s polar opposites from bubbly, popular Whitney, but they share so many similar emotions despite their lives being dramatically different. I liked that throughout the story you could see these people evolving. Because the story moves through three years, the chapters are often months apart, and in a way you see a time lapse of what is going on. In this way, you can see the subtle changes develop into whole different people, and you see how different the character that emerges on the other side has become.

As for romances, they did vary, which helped to convey a nice array of perspectives. None of the romances or relationships eclipsed each other, and all the characters were equally looked upon by the reader. There was a gay relationship, and I enjoyed that addition, and the contribution to diversity in YA books. None of these romances were easy and they ranged from a couple chapters to a storyline that covered the entire plot. That’s one of the things that made The Infinite In Between so unique – the variety. The book really covered a lot of characters and lifestyles and revealed a lot about human nature.

Altogether, I enjoyed this novel. It wasn’t the writing style, which was basic but easy to follow, that made it special, nor was it the romances. I think the characters and the degrees of lifestyles that were showcased in this coming of age book were what made it stand out among so many other contemporaries in the aisles. The book came full circle by the end, with the whole idea of freshman orientation group coming back together, and realizing how tangled their lives had become and the connections they never were conscious of. I did enjoy this novel and I would recommend it to contemporary lovers, although fans of science fiction and fantasy could find it a little dull.

Notable Scene:

“Hey, I wish we’d hung out more in high school. Why didn’t we?”

“I was hiding,” said Jake thoughtfully.

“Me too.”

“You?”

“In my own way.”

Hearing that made Jake wonder if they’d all been in hiding, if he hadn’t been the only one who’d felt alone for so much of high school.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Infinite in Between. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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