If you’re considering starting this series, you might want to check out my review of Book 1 since it covers certain things that I’m not going to repeat in this review.
The reason I love series so much is because they’re more than the sum of their parts. And when I first read these books, I felt that the first was good but that the second had the potential to be not only great but also completely heart-wrenching (to be fair, those two words are basically synonymous to me). And holy crap was I right.
By 8% I already had tears falling down my face—and I’m not a crier. The revelation that *SPOILER* Roman was paralyzed from the waist down *END SPOILER* sucker punched me; I just wasn’t ready for that, if you can ever be ready for that.
By 11% I was crushed. Roman’s emotions ran so much deeper and so much more painful than I was expecting, and him saying what he said to Bryn was terrible for both of them which meant it was doubly terrible for me, the reader, who was feeling things from both their perspectives.
It was burning there in her eyes, the kind of love that turns your insides into glass and the person you love into stone. Every word, every sigh, every pathetic sound I made had the potential to break her or keep her safe but when it came to the two of us, I couldn’t figure out how to do one without the other.
The lie I’d told Bryn was still there every time I swallowed. Like a shard of glass that I couldn’t quite get down and every time someone asked me how I was feeling or how I was doing and I was forced to give the answer that would spare their heartache, I could feel it throbbing there, getting bigger.
By 17% I didn’t even know what I was feeling because everything in the story was just going to hell (in the best possible way when you’re a reading masochist like me). All the parts about Roman’s emotions, how he felt about his mother’s death, how broken he felt both mentally and physically, his relationship with his father and his grandparents, his feelings for Bryn—geez. I don’t even have words. But man, this author can write. It wasn’t just that the writing itself was good, but also that she was able to grasp and create and portray the emotions Roman was feeling, the depth of them, the intricacies of them, the confusion of them, the way they all sprouted from the different things that had happened in his life and tangled together and bloomed into new emotions that all threatened to strangle him… It was incredible. And the way he thought and felt, it’s something I never would’ve considered or understood had I just been looking in from the outside, so getting to be inside his head gave me such a completely different perspective on things.
Then there was Bryn and the way her KLS was getting worse, because that was tough too, reading about it, putting myself in her shoes, feeling her emotion over losing Roman, losing her hope, losing her future, losing her dreams, and losing her life (I don’t mean literal death, so don’t worry, that wasn’t a spoiler).
But then, around 50%, things changed, and the heart-wrenching quality went away. I’m not going to say the book went completely downhill after that—I’ll discuss the things I disliked in a moment—because, even though it got less heart-wrenching, it somewhat made up for that with lots of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. And the mood was still dark. And the writing was still beautiful (though maybe a bit too flowery sometimes). And the characters were still developed. Not to mention Roman went through a major character arc.
The real problem was that the second half of this book was when things started to make less sense. The paranormal aspects constantly changed and seemed to get more random with seemingly no sort of rules as to how things worked. There was even a kind of time travel aspect involved which further confused things.
The first time I read this I also struggled with all the of new characters introduced, I sometimes had trouble keeping track of the passing of time because Roman and Bryn kept getting separated or just going off and doing different things, and I felt that the second half in general was kind of hectic, but I didn’t have any of those problems the second time reading (even though it had been a while and I didn’t remember much), so those things may or may not be a problem for others. And anyway, that might’ve been the point, to make the reader feel that chaos that Bryn and Roman were feeling.
Also, whereas the first book and the first half of this one were focused on Bryn and Roman and their lives and relationship, the second half became broader in scope and really wasn’t about romance or their normal lives anymore.
So this book did have some confusing paranormal stuff, but it also had lots of emotion, darkness, insight into different perspectives, and beautiful writing and was overall a book that I enjoyed!
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*
3.5 Stars (1st Read – 2015)
3.5 Stars (2nd Read – 2016)
Fans of Books 1 in Laekan Zea Kemp's The Girl in Between Series. Anyone who likes dark paranormal fantasy and character development and doesn't mind changing paranormal aspects and an open-for-interpretation ending. Anyone who wants to read an amazingly realistic portrayal of chronic illness (in Books 1 and 2).
More Books in the Series:
Book Review: The Girl in Between (The Girl in Between Book 1) by Laekan Zea Kemp
Book Review: The Boy in Her Dreams (The Girl in Between Book 2) by Laekan Zea Kemp
Book Review: The Children of the Moon (The Girl in Between Book 3) by Laekan Zea Kemp
Book Review: The Daughter of the Night (The Girl in Between Book 4) by Laekan Zea Kemp
Isn’t it funny how a book can change? And time travel- oh oh! But it sounds like on balance this was fantastic! I am not alwaysa fan of the open-for-interpretation endings but sometimes they work. I just read one like that, as I was down to a few pages I realized the ending I was hoping for wasn’t happening, but it still worked and was a gutsy way to do it. So yeah… sometimes
I normally like paranormal stuff but I can see where with an illness that’s presented so realistically, it could be disappoiting to have magic come in and explain everything. And the other thing is this sounds very character focused, at least in the first part. And when a book can touch you emotionally, those are the best!
You know I don’t like time travel though, so I didn’t like that aspect! And I’m generally not a fan of open-for-interpretation endings. The ending of the series was actually one of the main reasons I ended up rating the last book poorly. But it’s all about taste, that’s why I hate it when people immediately write off books based on rating rather than taking a moment to decide whether they like/dislike the things in the book.
The first half was super character focused! I loved it how it made me feel so much. It was great writing. But that’s why I was disappointed when it changed!
Honestly, when I first saw the cover, I instantly got curious (I’m a book cover sucker haha), but after reading your review, I’m having second thoughts. Maybe I should read your review of the first book 😉
Hopefully my reviews can help you make a decision! I definitely had some issues with the later books, but overall it was a series I still am glad I read.
Wow sounds like this one starts off very emotional and heart wrenching. I remember a few books that started with a big change like that and it really could make for a good start of a book. And yes I read the spoiler as I don’t think I’ll be reading this series. It’s great you felt all the emotions so strongly. I personally am not a fan of books where too much bad stuff happens to the main characters. Up to a certain amount I am okay with it, but sometimes it just feels too much?
That’s too bad the second half got less good with the world building and paranormal aspect not making as much sense. I am not a fan of time travel myself or confusing world building. It’s interesting how the second time around you had less trouble with the new characters and hectic feel even though you didn’t remember as much. It’s interesting how re-reading a book always is another experience. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one and I am looking forward to hear your thoughts about the next two books!
It really did start off emotional! But since you’re not reading the book I can tell you another *POSSIBLE SPOILER* which is that one of the reasons it got less heart-wrenching was because that thing in the spoiler ended up being magically cured. On the one hand, I was kinda happy since it was so terrible, but on the other hand, you know I don’t like things being cured since it’s a bad portrayal. I actually just got inspired this morning to write a post about this topic.
But yeah, it was disappointing the way the paranormal started making less sense. That was my biggest problem with the series as a whole. But it was interesting how I experienced the book so differently. The only reason I even knew how I felt the first time was because I had my thoughts saved in my book journal. I figured it could be helpful to people to mention how I felt both times. Thanks!
When I downloaded A Girl in Between on Kindle, I didn’t realize it was the first book of a series! Now I’m more than intrigued about it! I really like your reviews of both the books and can’t wait to start the series. And to answer your questions, I’m quite the crier when it comes to books..I’m a very emotional reader and when I’m reading, my emotions stay right on the surface, looking for cracks to come through! 😛 Again, great review!
Yep, it’s got four books! Thanks, glad you like my reviews 🙂 I guess my emotions like to hide in the recesses of my body when I read lol. But if this book made *me* cry, you should probably prepare yourself!
I don’t know if you’ll find this surprising but I *AM* a crier 😉 when reading emotionally charged books which is most of the time since I, too, am a reading masochist. Honestly, I could feel a knot in my throat forming from reading the first part of this review. I can tell it was extremely emotional. So it’s kinda weird that halfway through it switches, yeah? But I can see that the writing kept you interested even if the paranormal element was confusing and the scope of the story changed. So I’m still curious. 🙂
As an aside, I was on Goodreads putting this series on my shelf with your name on it 😉 when I saw this author is from the same area, if not the same town, I am AND we went to the same university!! (of course she’s much younger) But that means I *have* to read her. I’ve not been disappointed yet with authors that are Texas Tech grads…the one I’ve read anyway. 😉 (that would be Rachel Caine)
Actually that is kind of surprising considering you like masochistic, emotional books! You’re totally gonna cry in this one lol. And yeah, I was still interested, even with the switch.
I’ve read one book by an author who went to my university (well, one of them anyway since I transferred after two years), and I enjoyed that book! Maybe that’s, like, a thing 😉
LOL a reading masochist, indeed! I like a good heart-wrenching story every now and then, but it sounds like the hits come pretty fast and furious in this one. Your review of the first book in the series really intrigued me, but I think I’ll definitely have to mentally prepare myself before beginning this series, haha.
Lol it’s definitely heart-wrenching in the beginning, so get prepared!
Well, you know i have the first book and I’m still interested after reading this review. I hate when books get all confusing, but considering this book has you feeling all the emotions makes me think it’s worth a read. Sometimes books can take a bit of dip at times and not quite be as good, but then series are a sum of all their parts so really it can get away with going a bit weird, I cannot wait to get reading, why is my TBR pile so high?
That’s kind of how I felt about the series in general. I hated the inconsistent paranormal stuff, but it was still worth it to me because of the emotion and characters.
Oh oh oh I sooooo wanted to read book 1! Now not so sure! ?
Ok now wait a minute. You’re ok with Mara Dyer, a series I’ve heard is basically just full of confusion and strangeness and readers not knowing what the heck is going on, but you’re not ok with it in this series even though this series also has lots of darkness and emotional stuff?!
Well… Idk… ? I think it takes some to confuse you! ? Not me. I get easily confused ? so 3.5 stars only and K is confused… hummmm ? didn’t sound too promising
Well, not so much confused as annoyed by the inconsistent paranormal aspects. That’s something that always bothers me. Idk if that makes it better or worse for you lol.
This sounds like a really good series! I’ll have to check out book 1. I am a crier and I like it when books make me cry…usually.
Books 3 and 4 had some issues, but I still enjoyed the series overall because the things it did good, it did *really* good! And I also like when books can make me cry lol.
I normally don’t cry with books or movies. The only book that has made me cry so far was Before I Fall. The only movie I ever cried was My Girl.
I normally don’t either. But ooh, those must’ve been a good book and good movie if they actually made you cry!