Between Here and Forever
It's not that Abby doesn't love Tess or hopes her condition doesn't improve. It's that Abby needs her sister to come out of her coma so life at home can go back to normal.
Tess is the big sister, the beautiful sister, the perfect sister, the one everybody would want for a sister --– at least to all outside appearances. But Abby knows the truth, or at least she thinks she does. Tess has a mean streak she has concealed from all except her family at home. Abby can't tell anyone about the "other" Tess, the one nobody else sees, because then people would think Abby is jealous.
Before the accident that put her in a coma, Tess had gone away to college, and Abby stopped feeling so overwhelmed by being in her shadow all the time. Now that Tess is in the hospital close to home, her mom and dad go see her every day. So does Abby, but for different reasons. Her parents want to spend time with their precious daughter, hoping she'll wake up and recover. Abby visits so she can try to "force" Tess out of her coma.
Abby talks to Tess a lot, hoping she will wake up. But she doesn't. Abby even finds a boy she thinks Tess would like and talks him into going to her room on a regular basis, in hopes that she will respond to him. But she doesn't.
Abby knows she can't be like Tess or fill her place in the family. As she puts it, "I can't be perfect. I can't make everyone happy… I'm not the devoted sister, I'm not the noble, plain girl who sacrifices all for her sister to come back. I want Tess to wake up so she'll go away again." Then maybe Tess will go back to college and let Abby have a life at home and school without her. But in the months when Tess is in the hospital, Abby talks to some of her friends and learns a lot about her sister --- things she never knew. Things that change her forever.
Elizabeth Scott has written a number of books for young adults, including BLOOM, PERFECT YOU, SOMETHING MAYBE and LIVING DEAD GIRL. As she says, "I write young adult novels, and frankly, don't ever see myself writing anything else. I read a lot, and I love all kinds of books, but young adult books hold a very special place in my heart." This should be evident to her readers, who will be captivated and moved by BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER, a thought-provoking novel that tells a beautiful story about family, love, tragedy and coming of age.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on May 24, 2011