ARC REVIEW: The Space Between Us, by Jessica Martinez

Date(s) read: September 27 – 29, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary

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From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep—and the secret that could tear them apart.Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly’s thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands both sisters in serious trouble.

Amelia’s not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to . . . but forgiveness is beside the point. Because Charly is also hiding a terrible secret, and the truth just might tear them apart forever.

My Thoughts
This is a book I won on Twitter from Simon & Schuster Canada. I admit that I had absolutely NO idea what the book was about, but saw that it was to be released in October and figured I should start reading it.

I really enjoyed this book, but a LOT of things bothered me – a lot of it was MEANT to bother me (like the annoying attitude of the main character), but then some of it had my Canadian-ness come out in full force. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I loved the story that Martinez had to tell. In face, the synopsis of the story is just so vague that I don’t want to really give anything away in my review! Let’s just say that something happens and THEN something happens to the sisters in this novel that just seemed so strange and so … OLD-FASHIONED … that I just couldn’t believe it.

Anyway, the characters were also great, though I had major gripes over Amelia. I found she was selfish and judgmental and just ANNOYING most of the time. However, I think that we were supposed to see her like this. I felt that she needed to learn MAJOR compassion in the novel and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around her.

I loved Charly’s character, I loved Bree, and I definitely loved Ezra. I really enjoyed seeing the different relationships, though part of me wanted to see more of the girls’ father in the picture OR to learn more about their mother. I felt that some of this was just left a little too unsaid.

As for the Canadian things I had issues with, I have a few things to clarify. Mind you, I did read the ARC of this book, so things could’ve changed, but as a Canadian (and feel free to just mark me as a Canadian snob after this):

  1. I use the word toque, but I don’t use it exclusively. A hat is still a hat. I have never heard the expression ‘toque head.’
  2. I don’t use the word ‘eh’ after everything. Not that it was used after everything in this book, but there was the odd instance where it just seemed awkward in a sentence.
  3. I like maple syrup, but I use Aunt Jemima. Just because you can buy Real Canadian Maple Syrup in quite a few places doesn’t mean all Canadians use it.
  4. It is actually quite dangerous to use cruise control on icy roads.
  5. As far as I know, it can only snow if the weather is around the zero degree mark, not if it’s REALLY cold outside. And if you go outside in the cold for a long period of time without a coat, you won’t last very long.
  6. When I think of a Canadian accent – a THICK Canadian accent – I think of a Canadian like Rick Mercer. Not all Canadians have that kind of accent. In fact, unless that person comes from the East coast, I’ve never heard that accent in Western Canada.

Those are only a few things and I don’t want to reference where they are in the book – and really, once the book is published, certain things might not even BE in the book – but I just had to clear that up. (Mind you, I’m sure that all of these Canadian references that bugged me were there to reinforce the difference between Florida and Canada. I’m sure I would also gripe if I were in Florida. Don’t believe me? I totally would.)

Amelia narrates the story and I found that was definitely something that bothered me while reading, not because of the writing or anything, but because of her attitude. Like I said, she didn’t have the best attitude through most of the novel and I found myself wanting to get inside Charly’s head, or even seeing what Bree had to say. I found myself shaking my head and wanting to yell some sense into Amelia the more I read the story – there were times where she just annoyed the crap out of me!

This was a really good read and one that I got through quite quickly. Martinez’s writing is very accessible and even though I had some gripes about some of the Canadian aspects, I still really loved reading a story that takes place so close to me. I mean, I’ve BEEN to Banff and I’ve been to Calgary! How cool that the story takes place in those cities!

I’m happy to have read this and look forward to reading more by Martinez in the future – I hope she has Canada in more of her novels!


© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


15 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Space Between Us, by Jessica Martinez

  1. It’s always interesting to see how people perceive Canada being included in things, especially in this case with Jessica being from that area. Being from Ontario I do find that Western Canadians have a different accent, but you’re right, it’s not thick like East Coast/Newfoundland accents are.

    I have to say I’m kind of excited to check this one out, because I really loved Virtuosity.

  2. Haha, your Canadian comments cracked me up! We are a sensitive bunch, aren’t we? 😉 Those kinds of things drive me bonkers too! Is the author Canadian? I don’t see why “Canadian” stereotypes need to be played up just to get a point across…but anyway…I also really love reading books that have a setting in Canada, especially somewhere I’ve been. It’s neat to be able to actually visualize just exactly where/what the author is describing. This is one of the reason’s why I’ve always been a fan of Kit Pearson’s work 🙂

    Great review! (Is it necessary for me to say “I’m adding it to my TBR” anymore seeing as how most of the books you review make me want to read them??) 😀

    • Yes, the author is Canadian! I kind of wondered if the Canadian-ness was played up because the characters were from Florida and that might have been THEIR perception of Canadians.

      I love books in Canadian settings, too! I never used to, but they’re growing on me. 🙂

  3. I would get driven crazy by the Canadian comments too. Toque-head? C’mon. It’s too bad that the MC drove you nuts, I hate it when that happens. Especially when there is a secondary character who you would love to have the perspective of. Happy you could still find enjoyment in this one despite your many gripes with it. Great review!

  4. Sounds like an interesting find. I also had the same sense of feeling when I read Kelley Armstrong’s The Calling – because it was set on Vancouver Island near Nanaimo – where I was just visiting. I’ll probably read this just because the setting is Calgary and Banff – places I’ve been to before also 🙂 Thanks for the review!

    • Yes! Isn’t that fun? I remember reading a book that took place in Florida right after I went to Florida — and it was on a street I spent a lot of time at. I could picture ALL THE THINGS!

  5. I’ve read her other book – Virtuosity – and I really enjoyed it, so I think I will definitely be picking this one up at some point. Misinformation/assumptions about Canada would bother me too, especially since the author is Canadian! The accent thing is something I’ve noticed in other books too. For example I just read about these characters that are English speakers from Montreal who speak with a Canadian accent. As someone who grew up between the American border and Ottawa/Montreal I can tell you there’s really not that much difference.

    • I really don’t think Canada HAS an accent — I mean, people from the South have accents, people from certain states have certain accents, just like different provinces have different accents. I mean, there’s no such thing as an AMERICAN accent, right?

      I really want to check out Virtuosity! I enjoyed Jessica Martinez’s writing a lot!

  6. Hey now, East Coasters don’t have thick accents, it’s Newfoundland that has the really thick ones! 😉 That being said, I do use eh quite a I would like to read this one as it’s based in Canada 🙂

    Too bad the MC is snobby. Might ruin it a

    Great review, you made me laugh!

    Also, I like Aunt Jemima’s as well, mmmm

  7. I like reading books about the relationship between 2 sisters and all the drama between them. It feels more real/touching than a story about arguments between girlfriends. A really good one I enjoyed was “These Things Hidden”, one of the best sister stories ever. SO sad & shocking. Also, “My Sister’s Keeper”. Balled my eyes out for hours.

    Loved the review. This actually sounds quite interesting… I think I’ll have to check it out! Although, I agree with you about the false Canadian facts. I hate when authors do that. Either do your research, or don’t mention Canadians! *Sigh* They use such Cliche things to define us. especially the “eh” thing. that ticks me off. yikes.

  8. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (11) | Reading In Winter

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