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The World Between Us – Sarah Ann Juckes

Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Alice may be bed-bound, but that doesn’t stop her from going outside. Every day, she logs into Stream Cast and experiences the outside world by watching other people live wonderful and exciting lives.

But when one of the streamers is killed in a cycle accident, Alice is introduced to a new streamer.

Rowan sees beauty in the everyday and encourages her to stop watching, and start taking control. But Rowan too has a secret he’s trying to hide from Alice – and from himself.

As Alice and Rowan build a bigger and more beautiful world together, outside forces threaten to bring this new world to an end.

It has been a couple of years since I read Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes and I am still thinking about how much that novel blew me alway. So, of course I was looking forward to reading her latest novel, The World Between Us. I actually read this book in a couple of sittings because I just could not put it down.

This book is beautiful, heart-breaking and somehow still managed to leave me with a huge smile on my face. If you are looking for a young adult contemporary book that speaks honestly about chronic illness as well as disability, then this is the one for you. It also uses art and creativity beautifully to help the characters and the readers to understand the world.

The World Between Us discusses chronic illness, disability, grief and feeling lost whilst also discussing hope, love, happiness and humour. The author discusses these incredibly throughout the book and explains what day-to-day life is like for someone with a chronic illness. This is not a topic discussed widely enough in YA, so I am pleased to see an author writing about it. The author uses the ‘spoon theory’ to help explain to readers the limited energy that sufferers of chronic illness face. The author also shows the frustration that people face whilst trying to find a diagnosis for their unexplained illnesses. One other aspect that I feel the author tackles extraordinary, is the way in which those with chronic illnesses are worried about being perceived as not trying their best to get ‘better’.

Alice and Rowan are both spectacular and unique young adult characters who are inspirational and well-rounded. Alice is inspirational, strong-willed and I loved watching her character develop over the course of the book. Alice is a character I am going to remember for years to come and one that I’m sure will inspire so many others throughout the years. Rowan is a character I feel so many readers will want to protect. He is going through so much himself and does all he can to make Alice and his younger brother happy. Alice and Rowan are wonderful and I’m so glad I have read their story. 

Alice and Rowan have a unique relationship. It is a slow-burn relationship that really captivated me from the start. They care deeply for each other without them actually ‘meeting’ and it is so unique and lovely. The way we get to see them get to know one another is unique and something I have never seen before and probably will not see again. Their virtual meetings allowed us to get to know them both, their personalities and watch them grow feelings for one another. I enjoyed that Sarah did not do the typical thing of ‘get a man, he will fix you’ because this is something I hate seeing in YA books. Alice isn’t ‘fixed’ by Rowan but they do help one another in a number of different ways and I feel this is miles more healthy and realistic.

Sarah Ann Juckes has a stunning writing style. A lot of quotes in this book will stick in my head for a long time I’m sure. I know I will want to re-read this very soon to appreciate the beautiful lines and descriptive scenes. I cannot wait to see what Sarah writes next.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of young adult contemporary novels. I will be mentioning this one a lot from now on and handing to all those who are interested. If you are looking for a book that discusses chronic illness to broaden your understanding, learn more or want to see chronic illness portrayed in a book, then this is the one for you!

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