*I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Pan MacMillan India on their Instagram.
Rating: 5 stars.
“The walls of my cell are painted an industrial white, like albumen. They must think the color is soothing. Where I come from it connotes absence, death, unrelenting loneliness.”
In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession.
I’d like to start off by saying that this is not the genre I typically read. Usually, when faced with the option of picking YA or speculative fiction that might not be targeted towards teens, I usually pick YA. However, I have to say that What Lies Between Us was a such a good book. It might not be for everyone considering the themes it deals with, but I loved it and devoured it in a day after it arrived. It literally came one evening and by the next, I’d finished it, wanting more.
As a 15 year old I am by no means qualified or experienced enough to comment on everything that happens, and the issues in this book, but I’ll try.
So this book is set in Sri Lanka for the first half of it, and sets the pace for everything that happens in the latter half. Even though my reading experience isn’t that diverse, I thoroughly enjoyed the depiction of Sri Lankan culture and the nameless main character’s experiences and daily life. It fascinated me enough that I want to read rest of the author’s books based off of Sri Lankan culture and history.
The story isn’t straight forward. It deals with childhood traumas and how they affect you later in life, suppressed memories and how they manifest when you least expect them to. After a tragedy when the circumstances urge the main character and her mother move to the States, she goes through a change in lifestyle, culture and mannerisms to become more ‘modern’ and westernized. Though the second half of the book makes it seem like the main character’s life is fine now, and that she has her life back on track, one could read between the lines and see how she still had deep rooted issues. The MC built a life for herself, had a stable education and job, and a boyfriend until things started going downhill. Even though everything seemed fine on the outside, it was clear that the main character never really recovered mentally from what happened when she was young.
This book was something so very different from anything I’ve ever read, and I loved it. Apart from the storyline, the writing was also so beautiful, lyrical and haunting. Though it didn’t end well (you could tell it wouldn’t end well from the very first page), it was an absolutely unique experience reading this. I’m definitely going to read more of Nayomi Munaweera’s books. This was the first time that I branched out and actually enjoyed a book that was not YA.
Would 100% recommend this book to you if you think this would be your type.
Thank you for reading!
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(Disclaimer: all views in this review are my own and not biased. This review is not sponsored by anyone.)