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Somewhere In Between

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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.

The book is about changes—the ones that you can control, and the ones that you can’t. It’s about commitment and friendship. It’s about the stages in between where you have nothing but the unknown ahead of you.

Inspired by the work of Haruki Murakami and films like Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Somewhere In Between is metaphysical coming-of-age story about defining love and finding yourself.

146 pages, Paperback

First published August 15, 2015

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About the author

Katie Li

1 book30 followers
Katie Li writes fiction and narrative non-fiction about personal transformation and unlikely possibilities. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Bitch Flicks, and Xenith. She is a co-organizer of Social Artists and Writers, assistant editor of Novella-T, and curator of the e-zine The Beautiful Worst. Somewhere In Between is her first book.

In Somewhere In Between, 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. 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,746 reviews1,306 followers
September 9, 2015
2.5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kung Fu Girl Books and NetGalley.)

“Sometimes I wish I didn’t know how to talk.”

This book was a bit strange, and I’m still not really sure what was going on.

The main problems I had with this book were the jumping back and forth in time without warning, and the lack of explanations as to what exactly was going on. We got several meetings between the two main characters, but on one page they were at school, and on the next they had already finished college. How I was supposed to know when these switches were coming I don’t know.

The storyline then had a couple of occurrences which then seemed to be false, and when Magnolia told Rom that a friend of hers had died I didn’t even believe her, and then got even more confused as to what was going on! Even having finished the book I’m not really sure.

5 out of 10
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
December 28, 2015
DNF @ 53%

The writing style was sparse and the constant time jumps were very confusing. I never had any sense of what was going on, and the "in-between-place" added no intrigue or suspense to the story. Two stars because I didn't actually hate it, I was just bored.
Profile Image for ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page....
443 reviews94 followers
January 19, 2016
This is one of those books that's difficult to rate and describe.

The story bounces between two main characters and two periods of time (high school and after they come back from college). It wasn't until 80% or so that I realized the margins were a clue to WHEN the story is taking place. The margins are far left when they are remembering high school and far right when "current" time. Then there's that last sad chapter where it's perfectly centered.

This is a book that could spark discussion for what the book might be all about. It definitely left me thinking.

The writing style appealed to me, even if the overall story didn't conclude in a way I expected or wanted.

I really enjoyed the beginning when we learn how they met and what insecurities and strengths each had. I adore the movie Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The beginning of this book was very much like that movie. They each captured how two people make a connection and just love learning about each other and their thoughts. Learning what draws two two people together in this world is always fascinating. I sometimes think I'd love to go back in time and see how my friendships and relationships started.

But then this book takes a darker turn and the ending left me feeling empty. But perhaps it is supposed to.

Thank you Netgalley for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews86 followers
December 1, 2015
There were parts that I loved, but I'm not sure I understood much of the story, which isn't that good of a sign.

I started this book loving the chemistry between the main characters. I loved their interactions and the moment when they found the "in-between" place was just perfect. It was a mixture of simple YA and fantasy that I loved and I was really excited to continue reading. It became fine when it was a few years later, but I found there weren't many details about their lives or their past, so the story was harder to understand. Then came the ending, which I'm still not sure about.

I think I would have loved this story a whole lot better if it had been longer. It's an incredibly short book, but since it lacked details, in my opinion, I think it could've used a couple more pages.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for kingdomofbookss.
8 reviews3 followers
December 17, 2015
" Do you want to go back to the in-between place? "

I was torn between giving this 3.5 stars or 4 stars, and eventually I decided on 3.5.


What happened to the main characters? Where did they come from?
Katie Li's writing in this book is metaphorical. Everything is not explained thoroughly to please your mind. I'm still processing some of it even after I have finished reading.

This is not a straightforward book. Every word is important. Every sentence means something. You need to read each and every word slowly. I THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT THE STORY, and constantly tried to make connections between events. This book is about learning to stand on your own and finding your own path. I have to admit I did not totally understand it. I could see how someone got frustrated with this book.

They were beautifully developed. They are lonely people who create their own realities to survive on their own. I really enjoyed and appreciated the characters of ROM and MAGNOLIA.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK : It is an incredibly short book, lacked detail. I wish that there had been more detail to really show the plot. This book could be so much more!

THE BOOK IS WEIRD and it would not be everyone's cup of tea, but even so, I would still recommend that people give this book a try. If you don't mind finding the answers to all the unanswered questions left at the end, you will enjoy the book. I will consider reading this author again. I want to explore more of her works.

Profile Image for snowplum.
161 reviews28 followers
October 27, 2015
The statement that came into my head while pondering how to start this review was is: "Somewhere In Between is the book you would get if you took a Stephanie Perkins novel and, every time Perkins wrote a mundane, realistic, straightforward detail, you intentionally subverted expectations with vagueness, enigma, and magical realism." Does that sound interesting to you? Then read Somewhere In Between. Does that sound pretentious and/or pointless? Then don't.

I don't think I can categorically and enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone, as in, "Even if you think this isn't your thing, try it anyway! Let it blow your mind!" Because that's where the comparisons with Eternal Sunshine need to stop. Even if you don't think Eternal Sunshine is your cup of tea, you should watch it anyway. Let it blow your mind and make you cry and frustrate and enrage and touch you. Whether you get 20% of it or 95%, you'll be enriched. I'm not sure Somewhere In Between has quite that much substance to it; nor do I think you'll be more-enriched-than-frustrated if you only get 20% of it.

Being honest, I don't think I got 90+%. But I got enough to be here trying to write a review that could invite conversation and sharing of thoughts and feelings. I think this is the sort of book where multiple interpretations work, and you're reading a very, very different story depending on which one of them resonates most with you.

No one else reviewing the book has mentioned the possibility that Magnolia and Rom are dead; but the thing is, the In-Between Place is populated only with dead things... and both of them have been shown to experience depressive/potentially suicidal thoughts, and at one point or another both of them jump off something (a cliff or a building) that could or would be a fatal fall in reality. And when they come back from the In-Between Place into what they think is the real world, things keep changing. They keep bringing death with them.


The entire book is a metaphor for change. The world around them is changing, and sometimes that feels like someone or something else has died; sometimes it feels like Magnolia and Rom are dying. I find myself contemplating Death in a tarot deck. It means change.

Except when it actually means death.


This is a book about how hard it is to grow up. It is definitely that. And for the most part, I really love the fact that Li has managed to write characters who know that it's getting harder and harder to figure out how to be themselves and fit into the world it seems like they have to fit into... but they have no idea what to do about it. She doesn't over-write their angst. They don't talk endlessly about it. She makes maximum impact with minimum verbiage, and the depiction of their desires -- need -- to escape, dissociate, and cling to each other, comrades in pain and confusion, whose comfort in each other is simultaneously -- dangerously -- real and illusory.

Pick this up if you like surrealism and brevity, and can handle a bit of darkness and melancholy. Not so much if you wanted a YA or paranormal romance!

Profile Image for Jenny Bravo.
Author 8 books141 followers
March 29, 2016
Katie. Li.

This book is SO refreshing. I loved how incredibly literary this book was, and I really enjoyed the writing. It's one of the few books that I've wanted to stop and read every single word.

I love the characters and the style of this book. It's an incredible journey that truly makes you think and question.

Thank you, Katie, for such an amazing book! I'm utterly in love with this.
Profile Image for Anne.
387 reviews145 followers
November 26, 2015
If you're expecting some YA romance with a bit of urban fantasy mixed up with it, you're going to be in for an interesting (no pun intended) ride. My GOD, this book was intense!

It's a good thing the blurb is there because, just like Magnolia and Rom, I didn't realize they were altering reality either every time they entered the portal. It does make sense now, though, as far as anything can make sense in this book.

The story itself is very surreal, like an intricate web of hallucinations all spun together. It alternates back and forth into time, making it even harder to grasp what's going on exactly. Time is described as " a roller coaster, but it's not fast. And you're not sitting down. You don't even really have a body. It's just the feeling of moving in a roller coaster."

When Magnolia and Rom first step into the portal together, the text font in the book changes. When they step back out of it again, it returns back to normal. At first, it only changes every time they step in and out, with clear distinctions being made. Later on, however, the fonts will blend with each other more and more often, at unexpected moments, as if different realities are shifting/mixing together.

Even though it's a challenging read, I found myself having to put little effort into following the story. I still can't tell you what happened exactly, but I went with the flow and finished it in two reading sessions. Not to sound like an overly spiritual Sue or anything, but I guess I just 'felt' it. Halfway through the book, I even had to cry a little, something which happens rarely while reading, not even when one of my favourite characters dies.
I think it's the whole coming of age thing, with which I am still struggling myself, that's so well depicted throughout the book. The whole reluctance towards change, and sometimes taking a mental pause and realizing everything HAS changed, even though you were fighting to keep things the way they are...were. It can be frightening sometimes!

Magnolia describes it as "Because when things change, they become easier to forget about. It makes me feel like that could happen to me", she told him. "I don't ever want to be forgotten"".

I don't think I feel the same way about that. Or maybe I do and I'm just not ready to admit it yet.

Now before this turns into 'My Dear Diary', I have to say there's something about the name Zane that annoys me to no end. Especially if it's the name of a non-caring drug-dealing boyfriend. Then again, it might just be that mostly. I just find it excruciatingly painful to watch or read about women who are together with a guy like that and are still desperately trying to win his love by any means. Bah.

So, this is not your typical somewhere-in-between-book (pun intended). If you like magic realism, metaphorical writing, and aren't afraid to delve into some deeper levels of emotions: read this book. If you're expecting something more fantasy-ish: don't read this book; it'll only end up as another negative review, which it doesn't deserve.

I give it 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Brittany.
23 reviews5 followers
February 19, 2016
I really wanted this to be good. I was rooting for it the whole time, I really was. Even in the last ten pages of the book, I was ready for Katie Li to pull out surprises and WOW me with a twist that would make the preceding drudgery worthwhile. Yet I was only confused and disappointed at the end. The concept is interesting and the format inspires intrigue and curiosity, but ultimately the book felt like a poor attempt at a Twilight Zone episode. The writing was somewhat juvenile; the setting, reactions, and dialogue often felt unrealistic; the characters were at once cliche and unimaginable; the mystery/magic of the "in between place" did not seem to have any logic, even to the writer; the descriptions were flowery and unsubstantial (making the whole text appear as something that needed to be workshopped in a creative writing class); and the ending was entirely unsatisfying, in terms of literary merit and general reader enjoyment. I do not mean to be cruel, but I really felt compelled to share this review because I was astounded by how much the book failed to meet my expectations and its potential.
Profile Image for Sharon Mariampillai.
2,093 reviews86 followers
June 22, 2017
I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 2.5

This was a strange read. The story was confusing and weird. The concept was interesting, but the execution was lacking. The time jumps from past to future were weird and confusing. It made it hard to follow the story. The characters were good. However, I wanted more from them. The book was not what I was expecting. Overall, a read that was not for me.
Profile Image for ~Cyanide Latte~.
1,415 reviews88 followers
November 5, 2021
This little novella has been on my shelves (both my literal ones and my digital TBR) for quite some time now. I think I originally heard about it in a booyktube video but I'm not entirely sure anymore. I do feel like I have some vague sense that I know somebody didn't like it that much; and honestly I think I can see why that was the case. I feel like this story for the most part was rather solid, even if its actual pacing and time frame of events was all over the place. I was about ready to actually give this a full solid five stars but the final ending segment is what really threw me off. I'm not entirely sure what I was supposed to be getting from that section. I'm sure it has some kind of purpose but it's completely lost on me if that is the case. Otherwise this wasn't an entirely bad read; I'm happy I gave it a shot!
Profile Image for Trisha.
33 reviews17 followers
October 10, 2015
This and other reviews can be found on Yellow, Green, and Read All Over

*I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Magnolia, a wannabe punk who has just been dumped by her super-cool boyfriend, Zane, is wandering aimlessly on her way home when she meets Rom; a boy who, unbeknownst to her, has been staring longingly at her and her technicolor hair all school year. Their strange friendship becomes even stranger when together, they discover an alternate universe that is much like their own, but so very different. This "in-between" place becomes a refuge for them; a refuge from school, life, and often themselves.

Fast forward 4 years, and Magnolia and Rom have gone in very different directions in life. When they both graduate college and return home, the twists and turns of their lives have brought them back together and back to the "in-between" place. Will the alternate universe hold the same magic as it did for them so many years ago? Will it hold something more?

The first draw for this book is that it has an absolutely magnificent cover. The colors, the design, everything about it just draws in the reader. When I saw this on NetGalley, it was just begging to be read.

As if the gorgeous cover weren't enough, the description of this novella made it an absolute must-read for me. It's no secret that the young adult genre has been flooded with paranormal plots lately, but Somewhere In Between took it somewhere original and introduced a plot that I've never seen before. What teenager, or adult for that matter, wouldn't absolutely love for there to be an alternate universe that they could visit any time they need to escape from life?

While this story went by lightning-fast, I was still able to absolutely fall in love with Magnolia and Rom, who throughout the novel were members of the wrong-time, wrong-place, near-miss society. I flipped pages at an alarming rate, truly stretching my literary opportunist muscles and finding every chance I could to sneak a page or two and learn what would happen next in the in-between place.

Honestly, this book was 5-stars for me until the last 20%. I felt that the last fifth of the book was rushing to the point where it ceased to make sense. I chose to write this as a mini-review because I struggled with how to write a full-length review on a book that I felt wasn't finished. Somewhere In Between could have and would have been great if it was just longer! I don't know, maybe I'm just not cool enough to fully understand the surrealism in the novel but, the end left me with more questions than answers and scratching my head in confusion. When I flipped the last page, my initial reaction was "Wait... what?...That was...it?" It left me wanting more and not necessarily in a good way.

All that said and done, I would still recommend this as an interesting read. The imagery is beautiful, the characters lovable, and the concept is wholly ingenious and unmatched. It opens the readers' imagination to an entirely new world of what-ifs and I wish.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
Author 6 books95 followers
April 27, 2016
Katie Li’s Somewhere in Between is a Murakamiesque rollercoaster ride through love, friendship, and time itself. (Not sure this “rollercoaster” metaphor is working, but stick with me.) Magnolia, collector of lost things, and Rom, a shy gamer guy, form an unlikely connection as teens. Their friendship deepens when they discover a portal to another realm—the in-between place. Every time they visit, it’s different. When they go back to reality in their lovably ramshackle Boston neighborhood, the real world has shifted—sometimes in subtle ways, other times in major ways—as well.

This is no ordinary reading experience. It’s not the kind of book you can sit back and lose yourself in—but that’s a good thing. It requires the reader’s careful attention. In the Wizard of Oz movie, Dorothy leaves black-and-white Kansas and steps into the technicolor wonderland of Oz, giving viewers a huge visual clue, in case we didn’t quite get it: You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! In Somewhere in Between, the font switches from boldface to roman, helping the reader track the shifts from one realm to the other. At chapter breaks, the book’s pages are intricately designed, festooned in flowers and vines.

One of my favorite passages is a discussion between Magnolia and Rom in the In-between Place. “Do you ever imagine what time looks like,” asks Magnolia. Rom doesn’t exactly understand why she’s asking, but she tries to explain it to him: “I don’t know—it just dawned on me the other day that when I think of time, it has a shape.” She asks Rom to close his eyes and describe how he thinks of time. He thinks of a calendar, of pages tearing off one by one. She says she sees time differently—like a rollercoaster:
It’s a rollercoaster, but it’s not fast. And you’re not sitting down. You don’t even really have a body. It’s just the feeling of moving in a roller coaster, January starts, and then it moves forward, sort of—I guess toward you? If you were looking at it. And then February goes, like, upward. And March gets higher, but then sort of plateaus.

I love this conversation because it’s exactly the way people get to know each other—really know each other. It’s how young people’s friendships deepen. They sit around and talk—not just about life and school and books and movies, but about how they think, how they view the world. You can’t have these conversations with just anybody—you wouldn’t want to! You reserve them for the people you trust. You feel like, if you just had enough of these kinds of conversations, you’d achieve some sort of perfect communion. They would get you, and you would get them, too.

Katie Li and I interviewed each other, author to author. As she said on her Instagram, we “chat about books, love, friendship, our cities, fomo, and the writing life.��� Check out the interview here!

Profile Image for Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt).
579 reviews52 followers
January 14, 2016
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Holy. Book Gods.
This book took me by complete surprise but only because the cover looks so cheerful but it took a dark turn and I loved every second of it! I am so mad at myself for not having read this sooner!! This was the first book I have read by Katie and I fell absolutely in love!!
She managed to speak to my dark soul and gave me a plot line I didn't even know I was yearning for.
2 friends, Rom and Magnolia, find a portal in their town and things start to get interesting after that. Magnolia loves collecting lost things and Rom is a helpless geek who I was infatuated with the entire story. I miss them so much already that it's insane. This was one of the books that made me want to reread it again as soon as I finished it. (I just might!)
What made me fall head over heels was the fact that the other side of the portal, or the 'in between' as Rom and Magnolia call it, was basically a wasteland. Yeah, a ruined beauty. AHH!!!! Let's just say that the most amazing thing an author could give me is an abandoned anything. (House, town, mansion, castle, store, etc.) I love exploring abandoned sights whenever I can and this book definitely made me feel like I was exploring right along with the characters.
Another thing I loved were the illustrations at the end of each chapter. There are blossoms that grow with every chapter and it was amazing! I couldn't stop smiling at them. Also, I loved how the text font changes whenever something was related to the in between. I just wish this book were longer and I would watch this nonstop if it ever became an anime!!
The only slightly negative comments I have are that I didn't really connect with the characters due to the short length but I still couldn't flip the pages fast enough. And also, the timeline was a little confusing for me a couple times but I got used to it and it never impacted my experience. Actually, the time line was the best way to go about telling this sort of story. We hop from the characters' past to their present and we know things that will happen to the characters but are explained how it happened as we go. I am absolutely obsessed with Katie's writing and I can't wait for more!! I seriously hope that this has a sequel, or ten, because there are some questions that still need to be answered and I NEED to know what happens after that cliffhanger!!!!
Profile Image for Karah.
102 reviews28 followers
December 13, 2016
I should preface by saying that I am not a fan of magical realism. I am a very straight-forward, factual type person. It's just how my brain works.

I should also say I read this book through Kindle apps on different devices and each one seemed to format the book in a different way, therefore, the cool formatting the author describes in the foreward did not really work in my devices, leading to much confusion and flipping back and forth to detect the subtlest of hints at time change. I highly recommend you read this in paperback form.

Here we go. I really love the author's attention to detail. There are so many subtle moments that hold importance in both the past and the present. Many of these details also come back in the finale. Pay attention as you read. No skimming!

The author has a deep connection with her characters and their conversations are thoroughly enjoyable to read. Magnolia brings up some interesting topics, like her view on time having physical form.

There is a very important explanation in the summary of the book, which I missed and would have been extremely helpful had it appeared somewhere in the book itself. I only discovered it after having finished. It says, "What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality." I feel like I need to reread the book with this in mind. I never noticed things changing when they stepped out of the in-between place until the extremely altered world-state near the ending.

While this book is short, I think it is the perfect length for the story it is trying to tell.

The author references Anime and Haruki Murakami as influences, but I also see Gabriel García Márquez and magical realism here. If you love this book, I highly recommend you read Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.
Profile Image for Sylvia (Serial Bibliophile).
115 reviews33 followers
August 23, 2016
Lately, I've been trying to read books by "unknown authors", well, at least unknown to me so I can explore a little bit more than the YA everyone is reading. I contacted author Katie Li because I found her book and thought it was very interesting. Gladly, she agreed to send me a copy for review (thank you Katie!). 

This book is gorgeous! Seriously, if I hasn't gotten a review copy, I might have just gotten it for the cover alone (I tend to do that a lot...). Anyway, I really wanted to like this book.

We have a lovely pair of characters who have found a portal to a place where time doesn't seem to exist. (This kind of confused me a bit, and I tried to understand it more through-out the book, but I didn't get the answers I was looking for.) Anyway, this "in-between" place is where they go to avoid certain things or decisions they have to make in life. I'm sure we all would love to have a place like this, huh?

I loved the characters, their chemistry at the beginning of the book had me hooked. The plot is VERY interesting and I actually wish I had a bit more of it, IF it was executed better. My problem, that made reading this book a little painful, was the time transitions. I had to re-read a couple of times to understand if the current scene was taking place in the past or the present. 

If I had some way to know when something was taking place, I'm sure I would have given this book 4 or even 5 stars; but since this is not the case, I'll be going with 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Muskan.
236 reviews45 followers
March 29, 2016
I was sent a copy of this book by the author in exchange of an honest review. All opinions stated are mine.

This book has many loop-holes but despite of that, it has soothed me and I loved reading it. This is obviously not for everyone, and if anyone told me the ending before, I would have thought that it's not for me.

I honestly don't know how to review this, so I am just gonna point out some factors:

-Rom & Magnolia are people I can relate to, and I like how their bond was able to be built well within so less pages.

-The In Between place is beautiful. I wish something like this really existed, and if it did, I would venture there.

-It's a short book, but it is still 138 pages of awesomeness.
The way it ended was vague. I do believe that Katie should have given it more time, let the world built and ended things more clearly. Even though I really want to know what happened to Rom and Magnolia and if they end up together, it doesn't bother me much, not because I don't care about them but because, through out the book, they were able to give me a nice feeling of happiness which I can't really explain.

Overall, this book could have been better but I still really like the way it is. <3
Profile Image for Starr Waddell.
367 reviews29 followers
December 16, 2016
Somewhere In Between

It's hard for me to write a review for this one. It didn't really appeal to me because it's YA, which is not my genre. But I'm still giving it 4 stars because it intrigued me, and just because it's not for me doesn't mean it's bad. Many other people will find it enjoyable. I'm still trying to puzzle out what exactly was going on but I think that's the magic of this book. You're left to decide what happened, what you saw in its pages. The person who suggested this book to me said it's much better to get the print book because it's so beautifully done. I got the ebook but may have to check out the print one later. If you like YA and books that expand your mind, give this one a try. Oh... And I thought the characters were great. Magnolia reminded me a bit of myself when I was younger. PS - make sure you read the note at the beginning of the book regarding formatting so you don't get lost.
Profile Image for Kristen Kieffer.
Author 4 books187 followers
August 12, 2015
Somewhere in Between is a book of parallels. As Magnolia and Rom escape into the in-between place - an ever-changing alternate reality - readers are swiftly drawn into their own reveries. But these aren't the ethereal, gold-trimmed dreams of youth...

As the two friends leave their mundane lives behind time and again to visit the in-between place, they begin to discover themselves and the love they hold for one another. But does such an escape come at a cost?

As readers journey with Magnolia and Rom through their experiences in the alternate reality, they are forced to confront how their own escapes shake the foundations of their lives. Somewhere in Between is a spellbinding read that will leave you pondering your own reality for weeks to come.
Profile Image for Emily Shaw.
146 reviews14 followers
January 29, 2016
*I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Um no. This just didn't work for me. I just wasn't a fan. Nothing was explained or made sense, the point of views switched and it wasn't always clear. The year/time would also switch without being acknowledged. I still gave this two stars because of the main characters' friendship, which was the only aspect of this book that I did enjoy. This could've been a really interesting fantasy story, but it fell flat.
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,976 reviews581 followers
September 9, 2015
(I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.)

I knew very early on that this was going to be a read that I wouldn't really enjoy. The beginning of it was annoying with the talk about the days of the week, and after that was over it turned weird and confusing.

The story felt very jumpy too, which only added to the confusion.

Overall, Not a read I enjoyed.
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,339 reviews352 followers
November 11, 2015
This book is a little hard to follow. At one time it's in the present and other times it's in the past. Jumping back and forth without the heads up was hard to grasp. I didn't figure out until far into the reading each time it flips. The romance is bland. Would be great if there was romance between the two. That in between place doesn't sound so amazing like the cover of the book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
262 reviews10 followers
December 6, 2015
I am so confused. What just happened? The ending is left open to interpretation. And I don't think it works for this story. I was confused for most of the book and was hopeful the ending would shed some light on it for me. It didn't. I do not know how to review this story... Did they die? Or did they change it all for the better? or did it never happpen? I'm so lost.
Profile Image for Rachelle.
Author 3 books2 followers
April 1, 2016
This book isn't for everyone, but it does what only an indie author can—write a story that is so amazing publishers can't publish it. If you like writers like Haruki Murakami, then you'll enjoy Katie Li's YA surrealist novel. The story jumps around in time, the main characters meeting in "the other place" that slowly starts to creep into their real world and timeline.
Profile Image for Eric Fritz.
312 reviews9 followers
March 6, 2016
An interesting take on portal fantasy and how fantasy can reflect our real lives. There are some really unique formatting choices. Originally purchased because I know the author, but I enjoyed reading it.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
540 reviews25 followers
March 24, 2017
This is confusing. Sometimes I didn't know what was what and I hate that kind of situation. Maybe that's what the author wanted to do but it was a mistake.

Flat dialogues, no depth regarding the characters, the "plot" is not really a plot itself. I didn't like it.
Profile Image for Terri.
341 reviews13 followers
November 11, 2017
This is one reminded me of China Mieville - you are either willing to go with it and be okay with ambiguity or not because the book may be about the actual characters and actions/plot or it may entirely be a metaphor for something else and you may never know which. Or maybe it's both. Or neither. The story is lyrical, beautiful, heart breaking. It says a lot with very few words, written in stark, spare, lyrical prose that wonderfully captures loss, depression, anxiety, and yearning. I couldn't put it down and devoured it in two days. It's been a while since a book had that effect on me.

On the down side, I'm not sure the story held together. The epilogue/last two pages will leave the reader scratching their head, wondering what just happened/what it all means (and possibly even - then who was telling this story/who is the narrator of the story given the epilogue?).

The book uses a formatting trick - adjusting the text alignment - to indicate if the story is taking place in the past or the present, which is told to the reader up front on the first page. And throughout the book I wondered why the author choose to do this, when it was pretty clear from the text when the story was taking place and also 99% of other authors who use flashbacks manage to do just fine without this sort of visual clue and it's not until the last page that you find out why (possible spoiler: because it turns out there is a possible third time period - the actual present day - and the story told in "present day" might actually be the recent past or a possible alternate future or possibly a dream or all imagined or... ???? It's not really clear). However, I completely missed the visual clue in the alignment of the epilogue and only noticed it when reading someone else's review, so I feel a little annoyed as a reader that the entire crux of understanding the story rests on such a subtle, easy to miss visual cue, instead of the actual text of the story. It feels a bit like gimmicky.

The book/author also changes the font to indicate "something unusual is happening" (told to the reader up front on the first page) but the change in the font is subtle in ebook (kindle app for ipad) and so it was hard to notice whenever this happened and also it didn't seem necessary - it was pretty clear when reality started breaking down and weird stuff was happening.

Overall, if the story had ended before the last page this would have been a 10 star rating from me. The last page/the epilogue, however, didn't make much sense to me/kind of undid the story for me. Then I thought about it and while I still don't like that epilogue and what it seems to be saying about the story overall, I think I understand more what the author was trying to say/what the epilogue mans. Maybe?

Overall, despite my nitpicky gripes about the formatting tricks and the ambiguous/confusing epilogue, I really loved this story and the deftness with which Li told it. If you like the storytelling style of China Mieville or Shirley Jackson, you will like this story.
Profile Image for Derek Bailey.
Author 11 books22 followers
February 10, 2016
It's always nice to try out something that I'm not 100% sure that I will like. This can mean reading something that doesn't fall within my typical scifi/fantasy genre preferences, reading something in a different kind of format (novella, comic, etc.), or just trying out a book that loosely relates to something I like. The latter of these is where SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN fell for me. It's a fantasy novel of sorts, but not you're typical knights, dragons, and quests type stuff. It's instead a book about two young people who find a mystical "in-between place" and use it to cope with their adolescent woes. I discovered it at a local bookstore and was intrigued by the premise of it as well as by the fact that it was by a lesser known author named Katie Li and a relatively nearby small press called Kung Fu Girl Books. It's also very short, coming in at only 138 pages on a typical paperback-sized product and with some heavy indentation at that. It's definitely more elaborate than a short story, probably clocking in somewhere in the word count range of a novella which made it that much easier for me to give this one a shot.

I can wholeheartedly say that I am glad to have bought and read this book. It's not the most astounding piece of fiction I have ever read, but it felt typical enough for me to connect to it, while also being strange enough for me to consider it special.

The cast in this piece is fairly modest in size. It stars Rom, a geek of sorts, though not one with particularly good grades, and Magnolia, a kind of wannabe punk. They're the sort of misfit children that find each other and immediately establish a bond. They're not hipster or antisocial or even outright rejects, they're just kids who struggle with the challenges of adolescent life. They have friends and even relationships, but still have a hard time finding connections that really make them feel alive, ones that make life worth living. They're a far more compelling pair than I'm probably making them sound, though. In spite of how heavily they fall into classic teen angst tropes, these two actually feel very sincerely developed. This is probably because they aren't necessarily rebelling against the world. They don't have some juvenile chip on their shoulder nor do they insist on being miserable, they just can't seem to find satisfaction in life the same way that others do. They simply want something a little more. Readers also get to see them at different points in time and it was great fun to have the different nuggets of character development all come together around the middle of the book and then we get to see the characters grow from there. It's a very clever way to tell a love/friendship story and one I really enjoyed. In terms of the rest of the cast, there really isn't too much going on. There are other characters in the story, but they are largely to the side and you'll never really get to know them very well.

The world as it stands in this book is largely based upon the two characters that we follow. While I did get the sense that this set is a fairly standard, contemporary backdrop, it felt like much more than that the whole way through. This is mostly because of how differently the main characters see their corner of the world. You have Magnolia who likes to collect little odds and ends. Then there is Rom who likes things to stay as they are and does his utmost to hang onto the past in spite of how ruthlessly life moves forward. Then there is their secret place where they slip away to in order to escape the troubles of the real world. What is perhaps most interesting about the setting is that it is actually a little unclear how much is actually "real" and how much is imagined and/or metaphorical. This effect has a little less to do with the imagery though, and a bit more to do with the way the story is told.

As I mentioned before, the flow of the narrative is not really all that linear. There is instead a lot of time jumping to different moments in the main character's lives. At each point, we learn a little more about them and slowly start to get a picture for who they really are. About halfway through is when the story proper really begins. It takes all the pieces that have been collected for the reader and moves them forward in a narrative pull that is a bit simpler to follow, yet also increasingly confusing. There are a lot more trips to the in-between place during the latter half of the book and as the characters go there more, they seem to bring bits of it back with them. By the end, I was left questioning what was really going on and how much of the prose I should actually be taking literally. For those that don't appreciate surreal or even just trippy literature, you should probably know that the ending is just that. I didn't LOVE how it was done myself, but I did enjoy it. It's just weird and different and it will make you think about the book for a little bit after you've put it down, the latter effect, I'm actually a fan of.

It's not perfect or even completely original, but SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN has this feel to it that is unlike any other book I have ever read. I really connected with both the characters during the brief span of their story and greatly enjoyed both the more mundane and somewhat supernatural elements of the narrative. It's a fun and easy read that could easily be killed in a single sitting, or enjoyed over the course of several sessions. It definitely requires a somewhat open mind to really be appreciated, but if you go in looking for something a bit different from what you've ever read before, then you will probably walk away feeling pretty fulfilled. I read this in paperback and would highly recommend that you do the same because it is a beautifully constructed production.
Profile Image for Corinne.
Author 1 book19 followers
October 28, 2020
I loved the way Katie Li gave us such depth while playing with time and formatting. It was such a creative book that flowed well, and proved that you can tell a successful story in a unique way, and inspire others while doing so. I adored the characters, who felt complex and flawed in the best ways ♥️
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