Title: Everything in Between
Author: H. N. Smith
Publication date: January 25th 2018
〈ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review〉
About This Book
“Eli’s stories never included girls, just an abusive father, a willfully ignorant mother, and absent siblings.”
This YA contemporary debut novel follows the story of seventeen year old Eli Anderson and his journey to forgiveness, self-love and acceptance.
Eli, the youngest of AJ and Leanne’s children, was raised in a farm with his two older sisters and grew up with his father’s constant disapproving frown and demeaning comments towering over him, making him feel smaller and smaller. After AJ’s anger and drinking problems get the best of him one night, Eli decides to run away from home and lands in Del Valle, where he finds a job, meets new people and experiences love for the first time.
Determined to leave his past behind him, Eli is afraid to open up to anyone, but the farther he runs, the faster his demons sneak up on him. Without even realizing it, Eli slips into a dangerous, self-destructive cycle that might turn him into the person he resents most.
Everything In Between touches really important topics that I think aren’t talked about enough in YA.
“Everything in between then and right now? That’s gone.”
H. N. Smith portrayed perfectly the cycle of addiction and how easy it is to slip into it, especially at the tender age of 17. The cause and effect of a person’s upbringing and their relationship with their parents is also a big element in this book. Everything Eli is and becomes is a direct consequence of everything he endured at home: a bitter, angry and abusive father and an indifferent mother. Eli runs away from that toxic situation but his angry and abusive pattern of thought and self-perception went with him everywhere and proved to be just as harmful.
“He had fallen in love with her, quickly and completely, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He didn’t want to stop it, because it was difficult and perfect and everything in between.”
I loved the romance in this book – it was fresh, sweet and innocent. The reader can easily tell and understand how Carina (the love interest) was a welcome and happy release from Eli’s reality; she is the exact opposite of him. I think maybe this is why Eli found it so hard to talk to her about his past. Why would he ruin the one good thing that was perfectly disassociated from his past?
“I really do love you. I just didn’t know how to love you while hating myself at the same time.”
What was truly refreshing about this book was that Carina was Eli’s wake-up call, but maybe not in the way the reader would expect. Smith created a beautiful and important love story in this book, without taking off the emphasis on what was truly the end-goal for Eli (in my opinion): self-love and acceptance.
The writing, overall, was engaging and kept me wanting more from page one. However, my only qualm with this book is the dialogue. It wasn’t all bad but there were some conversations throughout the book that seemed a little bit off. It sounds weird, but it often felt as though the characters were reading off a script, making them feel two-dimensional to the reader sometimes. Apart from that, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this read because, as any good book, it brought forth many emotions from me and, from a character analysis point of view, it definitely gives a lot of food for thought.
It’s a ‘totally recommend’ type of book for me and I look forward to reading more of H. N. Smith’s work.
Follow me on social media
Email me for any book review requests or inquiries