I received this review copy from Andye at Reading Teen, which is a YA book blog. They had too many books to review and so they sent this one to me. Thanks! And thank you Egmont for the review copy!
White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
Genre: YA fiction/sci-fi/horror
My Ratings: 3/5 stars
In this story, reality is blurred with a terrifying world that exists in the white space of an unfinished manuscript. It follows 17-year-old Emma, who possesses the strange ability to blink away from her life and drop into the lives of other people. She doesn’t think anything of it until she writes a story for class titled, “White Space,” about a bunch of kids stranded in a scary house on a mountain during a blizzard. But it turns out it’s not her story. The story is an almost exact replica of an unfinished novel written by a long-dead writer. The dead writer’s manuscript is a mixture of The Matrix meets Inception meets Inkheart in which the characters fall out of their books and jump off the pages. Just like Emma does.
Is Emma nothing more than another character that blinks her way into different lives? Before Emma can figure it out, she is dropped into the very story of “White Space,” trapped in the snowy valley. There, she meets the other kids, also trapped, who possess strange abilities and hide dark secrets of their own. It seems that this group of misfits may be nothing more than characters, created from an alternate universe, brought to this house for a specific purpose. They must discover the truth before someone else pens their demise.
This book deals with some really interesting concepts. It’s highly creative and inventive, weaving together a rich plot with a lot of different characters. The plot is what makes this story stand out against other books in this genre. It’s exciting, horrifying, and extremely gory at times, which kept my skin crawling and made me extremely glad I wasn’t a part of the book.
This is a plot and world driven story. The character development isn’t as important as figuring out what the hell is happening on this mountain and why something or someone is trying to kill these children who may or may not be real.
I did, however, have some problems with this book that kept me from giving it 4 or 5 stars. During much of the story, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. It’s a confusion read (for a while at least), as the reader is essentially thrown into this story without any explanation, which is fine in my mind, but that confusion remained for a solid chunk of the book.
There are frequent POV changes, without any hint as to when the next change will occur. Sometimes it’s at the end of a chapter, but other times, it changes after five paragraphs, or even in the middle of a sentence. Although this keeps the plot moving at a rapid pace, it does make it challenging for the reader to get to know the characters.
Bick structures this story in a way that’s supposed to build mysteries and suspense, which is great, but the lack of answers to the endless questions for the majority of the 500-page book started to frustrate me after a while. I was left floundering along, trying to keep from drowning in the mysteries of the story.
However, I was really glad that I kept reading as the payoff at the end is well worth it.
Bick’s writing is excellently polished and detailed (especially when describing anything horrifying or gory). I don’t exactly know if I would qualify this as a YA book, though. I think it’s more general fiction/sci-fi/horror where the main characters just happen to be younger. Readers of fantastical mysteries and detailed horror stories should check out this book. Be ready to dive headfirst into this world and hold on as the story gets going!