Year Published: 2012 - by Hyperion.
Genres: YA / contemporary / fantasy / romance.
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna's a sixteen-year-old in 1995, fiercely determined to secure a running scholarship so she can leave her quiet, dull town and finally travel the world. Bennett's a seventeen-year-old in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time - an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves. When a minor lapse in judgment puts his sister Brooke in danger, Bennett finds himself two thousand miles and seventeen years away - in Anna's world. As he searches for Brooke, Bennett is strangely and inescapably drawn to Anna, who feels sure she's seen him somewhere before. Through the gorgeous, mysterious newcomer, able to travel anywhere in a split second, Anna visits deserted tropical beaches and stunning mediterranean coastlines for the first time, and they can't help falling for one another. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his uncontrollable condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs - and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces.
Oh, I needed this book. It came at a time when I hadn't been reading a lot of very good books, hadn't been shipping any new couples, and it was quite simply a breath of fresh air.
I loved it.
The writing was lovely. It was simplistic but powerful, and the story (although not exactly unique) was told in such a warm, heartfelt way that it was easy to lose yourself in the characters and their experiences. It was narrated tenderly and effortlessly by a wonderful heroine, who I'll talk about in a moment.
The pacing was perfect, and I was constantly entertained.
There was just enough to description to ground the reader and present the scene, and it was never boring or overwhelming or heavy.
The characters were amazing. But what struck me most of all was how real they were. They were so normal and realistic and human, and the depth and beauty of their journey and personalities was incredible. They were just ordinary kids (with the exception of Bennett; but even despite his ability, he seemed like a totally normal guy) and I felt like they were me. Does that make sense?! They were just human and real and no one special, and I loved that.
Anna was brilliant. She was so unique and interesting and strong, and I loved her reaction when Bennett told her his secret. I loved how she didn't overdo the "WHAT THE HECK YOU CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME!? IS THIS A DREAM?!" and yet also how she didn't do a Bella Swan and just take it as though his ability was perfectly natural. Her reaction was like I imagine mine would be: surprised, shocked, but accepting - because, deep down, it was what you'd been waiting for your entire, dull, ordinary life. I felt like I was on this incredible journey with her, travelling to amazing places I'd only dreamed about, and sharing her first-time experiences. In a way, I needed the escape as much as she did, and I felt like I was living through her.
The romance was very shippable and sweet. The chemistry between Bennett and Anna was lovely, and I liked how easy and natural they were with each other.
Below is one my favourite lines, which might seem really weird and random if you haven't read the book, but I just can't help smiling every time I read it. For some reason I just love the warmth and humour laced with tragedy, and how the characters come across.
Context: Anna's best friend has just been in a serious car accident, and Anna wants Bennett to use his time-travelling ability to go back and undo it:
Bennett: "How is she?"
Anna: "The same. Critical condition. No better than yesterday."
Bennett: "Give it some time, Anna. She'll be better."
Anna: "And you know this how? Because you've seen her in the future and know she's happy without her spleen?"
Bennett: "Technically, you don't need a spleen."
Anna: "That wasn't my point."
Bennett: "I know it wasn't."
AH!! I just love how indignant and feisty and adorable Anna comes across, and the chemistry between her and Bennett is so lovable <3
One quick thing I feel I should mention: Although this book was a lovely read, it wasn't so amazing in terms of story. It wasn't packed with amazing twists and turns and shocking revelations, and it was admittedly predictable at times. Some of the incidents did feel very forced - like the author was trying to make a story out of nothing. But that said, I still recommend it. It's solid and strong and beautiful; despite plot weaknesses.
I must stress again how natural and down-to-earth the characters were. They were just like you and me: ordinary people with hopes and dreams and heartaches, and it was easy to root for them.
I felt like I was on this journey with Anna. It was amazing and soul-consuming, and it filled my heart with such a warm, satisfying ache.
Time Between Us was poignant and mesmerising, and its characters were beautifully real and vivid. The story wasn't brilliant, but the writing and characters were strong enough to fill me with gut-wrenching emotions and send my heart both racing and soaring.