THE BLOOD BETWEEN US
By Zac Brewer
Grade Level: 8 up
Grade Level: 8 up
Hardcover: 274 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 3, 2016)
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Growing up, Adrien and his sister, Grace, competed viciously for everything. It wasn’t easy being the adopted sibling, but Adrien tried to get along; it was Grace who didn’t want anything to do with him. When their scientist parents died in a terrible lab fire, there was nothing left to hold them together.
After years apart, Adrien and Grace are now forced to reunite for their senior year, at the elite boarding school where their parents were teachers. Being back around everyone he used to know causes Adrien to examine the person he’s become, even while being back around Grace turns him into someone he doesn’t want to be. But all of those questions are cast aside when Adrien starts to suspect that Grace might be stealing their parents’ research and claiming it as her own—or worse, that she had a hand in their deaths. Suddenly, the only questions that matter are whether she’s guilty and, if so, what Adrien is going to do about it.
I went into this story rather blind and I have to say that may have worked in my favor as I did not have super high hopes.
Adrien is the adopted son of two respected chemists that die tragically in an accident. Adrien's sister, Grace, is the model of perfection and never does anything wrong. She loves reminding Adrien that he has been adopted and not really her sibling. After the tragic loss of his parents, Adrien moves to a new boarding school in hopes of starting over... without his Queen B of a sister, Grace. After four years, more heart breaking news shatters what is left of Adrien's family and he goes back home to tend to matters. Along the way, he starts receiving cryptic texts from someone he doesn't know, telling him that Grace is up to not good and may be responsible for their parents' death. Adrien quickly spends all of his time trying to solve the mystery of what really happened on that fateful day and if Grace really did have anything to do with the death of their parents.
The first few chapters of the book hooked me. They were gritty, intense, and full of mystery. Sadly, that momentum did not hold up as the book progressed. Instead, the pace slowed to a crawl and it became frightfully boring. The interactions between Adrien and the other characters soon felt forced and awkward, like two strangers trying to rehearse a love scene after meeting for the first time. None of it felt believable or honest.
My opinion of Adrien changed as the story went on. I started out really cheering for him, but soon felt he was the biggest jerk on the planet. His actions were arrogant while his inner monologue made him appear to be a different type of character. I had a hard time trying to figure out exactly what type of character he was supposed to be: broken and suffering boy or arrogant, privileged son? Don't get me started on Grace and the other characters. They all felt flat and lifeless, as if they were written on the extreme side of their personas. Meaning, they were just too much and none of them relatable.
There were tough topics within this book that I was not prepared for: underage drinking and wild sexual behavior. Now granted, these are not new to the YA genre, but it felt as if the author was trying to use this forum - his book - to discuss the problems with these topics and how they should be addressed more in real life. Uh.. okayyyyyy... I agree but it did not need to come across as preaching in the book.
I wanted to enjoy this story more than I did, but it just was not in the stars. I wish there had been more tension and mystery, more suspense. I gave this story 2 stars because it was a quick read, but it was not a solid read.