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Review: The Space Between Heartbeats

— feeling doubt
The Space Between Heartbeats - Melissa Pearl

I snagged a copy of this title from Netgalley when it was available as a 'Read it Now'. 


This was a bit of coverlust and a lovely title that caught my eye about this book. I read the synopsis on Netgalley and think I passed on it initially, then went back a week later or so and figured I would give it a chance. 


Unfortunately, I didn't like this one much at all. The plot showed some form of promise, and at least by the end the main character did show something that resembled some smidgen of character growth. However, Nicole was such an obnoxious brat it was hard to garner any sympathy for her whatsoever.


The initial ideas of the plot were a fairly good one - Nicole is a spoiled popular girl with a hot boyfriend, absentee parents and all the right friends. Something happens at a party and Nicole wakes up in a ghostly state somewhere between life and death and discovers some harsh truths about what her friends really think of her and what her boyfriend has really been doing behind her back. And to top it off, the only person who can hear her in this new ghostly state is the one boy she has been really horrible to, the school weirdo, Dale. 


For me it was a case of good idea, poor execution. The writing was also very simple. The characters were flat and uninteresting and the parts that were supposed to be emotional were sappy and ridiculous. The dialogue in some of the scenes was appalling and sounded like a made for TV movie.


There's one scene were Nicole stands in her kitchen while her parents are discussing her disappearance (they can't see her) and they're weeping and wailing about what horrible parents they are and how they never even noticed Nicole's acting out and struggling (this after her mother finds and reads her diary). We learn that Nicole had a Terrible Thing happen a few years ago and this changed her personality and her family completely.


I found Nicole so impossible to relate to or like in the slightest, in regards to this Terrible Tragedy that shaped her current personality, and her family into the state it's in, I felt nothing for her. The scene with the parents discussing how they behaved badly after the incident and not noticing how it effected Nicole was supposed to be a moving one. As I already mentioned, the dialogue was so over the top along the lines of oh noes, we're terrible people and if only we hadn't been so absorbed in our own pain we didn't even see how hard this was for our poor Nicole! It was so sappy it was more gag worthy than anything. 


Nicole,  it turns out as she and Dale start investigating what happened to her, used to be friends with Dale and a whole bunch of different people before she started high school and became Miss Popularity. She was nice and fun and likeable. The Terrible Tragedy changed her. Nicole doesn't like to talk about it. Understandable. But she also can't accept it when she hears her friends talking and what they really think of her. She also doesn't like the fact that Dale, who the popular kids make fun of can hear her, she argues with him, she whines. This is the only person who can help her and she fights with him! 


The were a few utterly ridiculous plot twists towards the end as Nicole finally finds out what really happened. She does warm towards Dale and finally gets it in her head that maybe being really popular isn't worth it with the type of people her so-called cool friends turn out to be. There are a few more gag worthy sappy scenes as Nicole struggles to choose between life and death. But then there's the ending. The ending was totally unbelievable, after everything Nicole goes through, every twist and turn when the truth is finally revealed her actions in dealing with it left me utterly baffled. Urg. It was awful. I think she was trying to take the moral high ground, but it was...stupid. At least to me.


In the end, I really didn't like this book at all.