TW: depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation
You all thought I was raving about Echo North, didn’t you? Well, my enthusiasm for that one pales in comparison to all the feelings I have for The Light Between Worlds. I did not expect to relate to this book as much as I did and I definitely didn’t expect for tears to keep flowing for 100+ pages straight. I hope I can find the words to describe to you why The Light Between Worlds has managed to impact me so deeply. The book plays with your perception of reality, by adding fantasy elements in place of events that could be easily substituted by more ordinary things. So, you read something out of this world, but at the same time, your brain tells you that similar things happen for real all the time. You wonder about the meaning behind things and know that there is more to it.
I wasn’t ever whisked away to a Narnia-esque land, but I have lived and shared my life with people in other countries and on other continents. And sometimes, you leave a bit of yourself behind, you find home away from home but there are ties you cannot shake to your past regardless and it takes time and courage to find who you are at the end of the day. All the Hapwells struggle with finding themselves and keeping up appearances after something massive has happened to their lives.
“We’re all a bit frayed around the edges, aren’t we? It doesn’t surprise me and it doesn’t frighten me, finding out you’re only human like the rest of us.”
It was really easy for me to dive into the story, because the characters made it so easy to relate to them. This is a book for all the people who enjoy a good sibling-story (there aren’t nearly enough of those out there if you ask me). Family is always complicated and never easy and Evelyn and Philippa were the perfect example of that. Their love for each other went so very deep, but there are times when you have to take care of yourself and can’t continue to be the lifeboat the other might need. I wish they had included Jamie a little more in the tale, but I understand that the sisters had a special bond altogether. Still, he was an intriguing character nonetheless.
Once upon a time, I knew all the right words to say to Jamie, to my darling older brother who worked so hard to prove himself in the Great Wood, and who can’t quite stop feeling like he’s failing here. Now all I do is hurt him, when I want to offer words that heal.
Lastly, I also want to give a little shout out to the love interests in that book. These boys were so darling and kind and open-hearted. I wish I would meet more people like them in real life. Somehow they were there when needed, gave them space when necessary, understood being broken but still offered so much hope for what was yet to come. Love (especially the romantic kind) doesn’t fix everything, and the book in no way implies that, but if I needed a shoulder to lean on, these characters would be more than welcome.
I’ve seen war and death and darkness, but I’ve never before walked home with a boy, heart in my throat, knowing that at the end of the walk will be people who love him and who will take a measure of me.
I don’t know how else to tell you that I adore this book, except maybe by mentioning it’s brilliant use of paintings and poetry as metaphors and imagery that added to the story. It was a real treat of a read!
Fazit: 5/5 stars! Used up my entire reservoir of sticky notes, because this book is just full of magic words.
I hope I could give you at least a little bit of a taste of what The Light Between Worlds is about. Have you read it? Do you want to? I am definitely here to talk if you want to!