Two friends find a portal to another dimension and use this “in-between place” to avoid the stress of their everyday lives. What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality. Pseudo-punk Magnolia and underachieving gamer-geek Rom are two unlikely friends who only hang out during their walks home together after school. When they find the a portal that leads to different worlds, they use the “in-between place” as an escape from their lives in high school, then later, after college. Their visits through the portal bring them teetering along a tight-rope of fantasy and reality, where they don't always believe what is in front of them, not even their feelings for each other. Inspired by the work of Haruki Murakami and films like Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind, Somewhere In Between is metaphysical coming-of-age story about defining love and finding yourself.
This was a short read that was more surrealist than I predicted. Though its premise was exciting, it could have used some expansion.
I really adored the premise of the book; however, I felt like the blurb explained what happened a whole lot better than the book itself did. While the idea of this in-between place being another dimension is alluded to, it isn't explicitly detailed, and it's not at all apparent that this is the case.
The plot is given by the blurb, so I feel that it isn't a spoiler to mention that not only do they not realize that this portal alters reality, but I, the reader, also did not. There were some details that I later, having read the blurb, notice; however, I had attributed these to other explanations. The book was written in sections from the past and from the present, which sometimes became confusing. Tense was often the only clue I had to tell me which I was reading at the beginning of a section, and this ultimately became distracting.
There was a lot of potential in this book and in the characters that wasn't quite fulfilled. Magnolia especially had such an interesting personality and I loved Li's descriptions of her. I could see her so vividly, from her hair to her clothes, that I was disappointed to not hear more about her background and how she acted. I never heard an explanation of her family life or why she chose relationships she did and I really wanted to get to know her.
I did love the writing of this book and I felt like the locations in particular were immensely well described. I could envision each scene, I only wish that there had been more detail and more build up to really show the plot and to deepen the premise.
Though I think this book fell short of its mark, I do highly recommend it and I'd read more by Li. My desire for more stems from the quality of what is presented in this book.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.