Author: Tara Fuller
Series: Kissed by Death #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Date: August 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
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Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky — and unending — lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.
It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.
I love death. Not so much dying, but the personification of death. He’s one of the best characters that crop up in literature, DEATH of the Discworld being a very notable example. So whenever a story has reapers in it, I get overly excited and my expectations probably rise tenfold. Thankfully, Inbetween hasn’t let me down.
Inbetween is told from the alternating point of view of Finn and Emma. Finn died as an 18-year old WWII fighter pilot and now works as a reaper, specialising in sending souls to the ‘inbetween’ where they await a second chance at life. Emma keeps getting into accidents and she’s certain she’s not crazy. Finn has sworn to protect Emma since he helped her survive a car crash two years ago that killed her father and inadvertently led a vengeful soul to take revenge through her.
This is a sweet love story that spans reincarnations. The plot is interesting and actually takes you to hell and back. The mood of the story shifts seamlessly from light-hearted humour to deep tragedy and I’m not ashamed to say that it made me well up with tears a few times. Tara Fuller’s writing is extremely emotive, especially in the way she captures danger and heartache. Despite all of that though, the book stands out most for me because of the wonderful characters.
I sympathised with Emma, misunderstood as she is when she had every reason to be paranoid. She was vulnerable, but she grew stronger in the end, facing her fears and standing up for those she cares about. She was brave in her own way. I also loved best friend Cash, who is cool and dreamy in his own right. I love how he has a bad boy image, but is really a softie and he’s arrogant because he can be. They grew up together and genuinely care about each other, which is really sweet. I’m a sucker for great guy-girl best friend relationships.
The rest of the supporting cast is also fantastic. Finn’s fellow reapers, Anaya and Easton personify which section they work for (i.e. reaping for Heaven or Hell), but aren’t clichés. Their brother-sister relationship with Finn makes them a great, albeit dysfunctional, little family. Maeve, as the villainous soul after Emma, is pitch perfect—creepy, arrogantly mean and deeply bitter. In fact, every character encountered in this book is really well-developed and distinct.
I’m saving the best for last in Finn. I haven’t swooned about a YA boy in a long time, but Finn deserves it. For me, it’s his unyielding love for Emma that makes him swoon-worthy. There is no wavering, or indecisiveness—he’s wholly and completely in love with and committed to her without question. Plus the sacrifices he goes through to keep her safe at his own expense are really touching. It also helps that he’s kind, caring, good-looking and loyal. I wish I had my own reaper guardian angel!
The only thing that stopped me giving it full marks is that I wanted Emma to come to love Finn a little bit more in her own time. I understand that she still holds feelings from her reincarnated self, but as a separate person, I wish she got the chance to choose to love him in her own way. They are incredibly sweet together though, and some of their scenes gave me goosebumps—the good kind.
I can’t wait for the sequel, and word around is that it will focus on some of the other characters we’ve come to know and love. Tara, I absolutely can’t wait.