Monday, August 31, 2015

Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler

Title: Infinite In Between
Author: Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

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. So much can happen in those in-between years…

Zoe feels like she will live forever 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. Gregor thought 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.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

Considering the amount I read, there isn’t much about contemporary books that I haven’t said before. And that can make writing some of these reviews a little tricky. So I’ll just say this, I loved Carolyn Mackler’s Infinite in Between a whole lot more than I expected to.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor and Whitney all had their own concerns and apprehensions about starting high school. When they’re put in the same group at their freshman orientation, they decide to write themselves a letter that they’ll open at the end of high school. But a lot can happen in four years. As they go through high school, each of them goes through their own share of happiness and heartbreak, coming in and out of each other’s lives without thinking too much about it. What will they all think when they meet again at the end of their four years of high school?

Fun little story about Emilie for you: to this day, I still remember the first Carolyn Mackler book I read. I was in eighth grade and I would sit in front of my locker during my lunch break and read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. So it’s fair to say that Carolyn Mackler is one of the YA authors I’ve been reading for the longest time. And I still enjoy reading her books all these years later. As you can guess, I had a pretty good idea going in that I would really enjoy Infinite in Between. What I didn’t expect was to love it as much as I did. Infinite in Between was a story that kind of creeps up on you. At first, it’s a little tricky to follow since it quickly jumps around between five different characters. But at the same time, the story draws you in quickly. And before you know it, you’re curious about finding out more about these five people’s high school experiences and seeing how their lives intersect over the course of those four years. And by the end of the book, I was a lot more emotional than I ever thought I would be. Like I said, this story just creeped up on me in a way that I really didn’t expect.

What Infinite in Between really hit on the head is the way that people come in and out of each other’s lives in high school. How everyone always kind of seems to be on everyone’s periphery no matter how big the school is. And it really showed that no matter how much your life seems perfect from the outside, nothing is ever as it appears. And it also perfectly showed how, at the end of the day, everyone in high school is just trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. That was more than the case for Jake, Mia, Gregor, Zoe and Whitney. Each one of them was basically trying to figure out who they were and who they wanted to be. And it wasn’t always easy, there were obstacles along the way and I was rooting for all of them throughout the book. Most of all though, I loved seeing the way their paths all crossed at different times during their high school career and how at the end of it all, they were able to come together in ways that I didn’t really expect. Reading from five different perspectives was a different experience, but it was definitely worth it in the end.

I loved reading Carolyn Mackler’s Infinite in Between in ways I didn’t expect. This story was understated in the best way possible and accurately portrayed the high school experience. This might be a quieter story, but it’s absolutely worth the read. 

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