Review: The Space Between by Michelle L. Teichman

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April 13, 2016 by Zoë

The Space Between by Michelle L. Teichman is a standard teen romance novel. I requested it on Netgalley because I’m generally quite taken with YA lesbian romances and usually tolerate well-written YA romances in general. Note that they’re not my absolute favorite books, so I’m harder to please than a die-hard fan. This definitely has impacted my review.

This book is about Sarah, a minister’s daughter, and Harper, a popular girl. They meet on their first day of high school and quickly begin a clandestine relationship.

While I like the premise of the book, overall I found the pacing quite slow, which caused my interest to waver. Sometimes it’s fun to read pages and pages of people dancing around each other. Not the case here: I wanted the plot to move along.

Despite this gripe, I also found that the relationship moved too fast, especially in the beginning. I had a hard time understanding why the girls were attracted to each other. At one point, Harper even reflects that she doesn’t really know anything about Sarah. Too true, but probably not in the way Harper meant.

Finally, I found everything a little exaggerated. Sarah was the typical misunderstood artist wearing black lipstick. Harper was the typical mean popular girl. Everyone was obsessed with the social hierarchy of high school. Sure, these clichés exist for a reason, but I wanted something more complex.

One mostly untapped area for this complexity is the exploration of Sarah’s faith. There is some of this, and some affirmation that you can be both gay and Christian, but this seems like a good spot to add conflict and that opportunity wasn’t taken.

I was also a bit troubled that some of the climax turned on the idea of the girls owning the label “gay.” They can both be gay, that’s fine, but there wasn’t even a fleeting consideration of bisexuality. A bit troubling, but not a huge deal.

Overall, this book has a positive message. Everything is resolved and everyone grows into a better person. A little bland for my tastes, but if you’re looking for a gay-positive book to hand to a teenager, this is probably it.

“That’s where I’ll be waiting for you then. In the space between what’s wrong and right.”

I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley.

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