I chose this book because it sounded a bit like The Invisible, a much maligned film that I happened to really enjoy. I wasn’t disappointed. The premise is similar but different enough to make it an individual work. What I wasn’t prepared for was a protagonist who made Paris Hilton look like someone with a soul. Honestly, if I was the one person she could communicate with, this girl would be out of luck. She grows on you, but I had no doubt in the beginning that this was no accident. I would have driven across town to hit her with my car, and I bet the town would have thrown me a parade.
Nicole Tepper has it all—beauty, popularity, and the perfect boyfriend. But after a party she can’t remember, she wakes up in a ghostly state, trapped between life and death. Nicole’s injured body is lying in a wooded area, but she has no idea where—or how long she has left to live.
Only one person can hear her now: Dale Finnegan, a loner classmate that Nicole has relentlessly bullied. Dale’s the last person in school who would want to help her, but he sets their tangled history aside to try to save her life. As they dig into what happened at the party, they discover her boyfriend isn’t as perfect as he seems—and neither are her friends. With the clock ticking down and her life slipping away, Nicole must face a hard truth: Was what happened to her a terrible accident? Or does someone want her dead?
This is a new edition of the previously self-published novel Betwixt.
I have to admit I started this book and initially put it back down after only a couple of pages. Nicole, the narrator, is a bit of a monster and I didn’t think I could tolerate her for an entire book. She comes across as the snottiest, self-centered brat I have encountered in fiction in quite some time. I’m glad I gave her a second chance, but many readers will be turned off by her almost immediately. They are suppose to be because this is a journey for Nicole, and it isn’t always pretty when you dig around in someone’s redemption, otherwise it wouldn’t really be a redemption. I think this story will give some readers pause, and allow them to reevaluate the lives they live, others will just enjoy seeing the snob get a little life lesson. I certainly did. The other characters are fairly flat, but their archetypipical traits do allow readers to easily place their own beloved/hated popular crowd in their shoes, so it works well. Dale is a promising character that is easy to like, though he does come across as a little too good to be true. His relationship with Nicole is engaging, and it adds to the suspense. I personally thought the plot was a little shaky, particularly the ending which felt rushed and a little too contrived for belief. Overall, though, I thought it was a fairly engaging story, and I think that my high school students will enjoy the mystery and suspense. Adult readers of YA will probably be a little less impressed. Language and situations are appropriate for high school with some references to sensuality, alcohol, language, etc.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.