Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler Review

"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."


YA Contemporary, Infinite In Between follows the high school path of five teens. Each teen is unique in their own way, and they are all different from each other. They are all similar to each other. Their paths are jagged, and sometimes, their paths will cross. Things, that are only coincidences to them, are strings and connections to us. It is funny how one person, how a group of people, can affect a single person. 

Readers can easily draw parallels between Infinite In Between and The Breakfast Club. The labels of princess, athlete, criminal, basket case, and brain can be applied to Claire, John, Allison, Andrew and Brian. But this book doesn't label the main characters as sharply as The Breakfast Club. No, they are all special in their own ways and readers can easily empathize with at least one. They are their own persons, and I have a feeling that Carolyn Mackler enjoys deconstructing usual tropes and character types.

(An off-topic note: I now have Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me" stuck in my head. I'll be humming along.)

The book alternates between the main five's POVs. Gregor, Whitney, Mia, Zoe, and Jake bring different characteristics and voices to the table. Readers have a strong chance of mixing up and forgetting these characters, but after reading a while, they should be able to keep track of each characters' triumphs and tragedies. 

The story starts off on the day of freshman orientation. Immediately, readers will be drawn back into the days of The Breakfast Club. The arrival of the five main characters calls back to the arrival of the kids serving detention on a Saturday. The plot moves slowly at first before everything starts to unravel. The book quickly starts spiraling to the ending, and I can't but help turn the page again and again. 

Though the ending and the book's message is thought-provoking, it is the journey, the story, of the book that moves me. 

Overall, Infinite In Between brings together five teens. They are all unique in their own ways, and the way they affect each other's lives is beautiful and amazing. It is a story about real life, about how much things can change in time. I will recommend this book to those who especially love "Coming of Age" books. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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