Book Review: The Space Between by Meg Grehan

The Space Between by Meg Grehan

Title: The Space Between

Author: Meg Grehan

Genre: YA/Books in Verse

Number of Pages: 180

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes




    The Space Between is a good book to read when you want something lightweight and comforting, which reaffirms the more positive aspects of the human condition and doesn’t make you have to think too much. I would say it’s fairly forgettable, but at the same time I enjoyed reading it and I’m interested in how this author’s work will evolve over time. The story follows Beth, a young woman with a severe anxiety disorder who stays her house all the time and escapes into reading.


Beth doesn’t have some big trauma in her past to explain how she got this way, for a while she was semi-functioning in day-to-day society and then suddenly she just couldn’t do it anymore. That was actually one of the things I liked best about this book because a lesser author would have thrown a unnecessary sexual assault or something like that into Beth’s backstory to explain to the reader why she’s afraid.


Instead, the author trusts us to understand how life can be so overwhelming for a person that they’d just withdraw, without making it into something bigger. Beth tries to convince herself that she’s happy with her life, even though she’s having regular panic attacks within the confines of her hermetically sealed existence, too. One day all that changes when she meets a dog who comes to her window, and then she meets Alice, the dog’s owner.


Alice is kind and accepting of Beth’s peculiarities, and soon they start spending a lot of time together which leads to a romantic relationship. Other people’s reactions to their same-sex attraction never becomes a barrier like it does in most other GLBT+ literature, and any struggle is gently handled and pertains to Beth slowly coming out of her shell and learning to trust other people.


There are several reasons why I thought this book was mostly okay, and nothing about it ever wowed me. For one thing, it’s not big on character development (which is usually one of the most important things to me when reading a book) and Alice is very weakly written. She just wants to be there for Beth and is willing to wait forever for her to resolve her issues if if she needs too, and she doesn’t request anything in return or ever become the least bit irritable.


She reminded me of some of those too-good-to-be-true love interests in romance novels, often consisting of guys who go down on their girlfriends all the time without ever expecting reciprocation and basically exists to heal damaged women with snuggles and amazing sex. I never found myself growing particularly attached to either of the main characters and sometimes the tone left me confused about who the audience was supposed to be.


The main character is presumably an adult, for instance, since there are no parents in the picture and she lives by herself. But she’s the main character of a YA book and she acts like a kid. There’s a scene where she fantasizes about Alice and masturbates but a lot of the language used to weirdly puerile, like referring to the heroine’s ‘tummy.’ Overall I thought it was a fine way to spend an evening and I liked how genuinely warm and good-natured it was, but there’s nothing about it that would be in a hurry to recommend it to friends.

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