Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre(s): Fiction; Young Adult; Fantasy; Paranormal Fantasy; Indie
“Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.
But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.”
I can’t believe I haven’t posted my review on this yet. It was such a decent read with a promising plot! Apparently, I posted reviews on other books first that I deemed more urgent (Netgalley ARCs with publishing dates coming up soon, library books I had to return soon, etc.). This book was free on Kindle AU store, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how this one turned out. I can honestly say books #2 onwards in The Girl In Between series are worth pursuing.
Let me just say this is the most fascinating medical condition featured in a book I’ve read so far, and I mean it in the most respectable way because I realise anyone who has this disease, and their close ones as well, must have an awfully difficult time coping. Our lead, Bryn Reyes, has the ‘sleeping beauty’ diseases (Klein-Levin Syndrome or KLS) that makes her fall into deep sleep for long periods of time. We’re talking days and weeks here. As you can imagine, it’s preventing her from leading a normal life, which is what Bryn yearns for the most. Even among the not-so-normal, Bryn is even more of a special case. Others don’t go into an alternate reality on their episodes, but she does, making her feel more confused about her condition. On top of that, her father walked out on their family, further straining things for Bryn. Considering all of this, Bryn’s a balanced character. People could easily fall into depression and anxiety with KLS.
However, I felt more sympathy for Bryn’s mom, Elena Reyes. Elena is a woman who had her husband walk out on her, and has a daughter who is suffering from a disease that she has no control over. Bryn goes to a different place altogether during her episodes but Elena has to be grounded in reality and watch over her daughter, never knowing when or if Bryn will wake up again. I see Elena Reyes as someone who represents numerous admirable real people out there who are making the best of life when life fails them.
The solemnity of Bryn’s situation is lightened with the presence of her two friends, Dani (Bryn’s cousin) and Felix, and the comedy romantic tension between them. I enjoyed the side-drama that these two provided.
I particularly appreciated the jab that the author made on the whole notion of ‘being normal’. In the passage below, she highlighted that ‘normal’ depends solely on what people think should be done. It is a social construct.
I sighed. “Let me be normal.”
He stuffed his hands in his pockets, smiled. “I know I can’t really remember reality right now, but I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing.”
“Try convincing the rest of the world.”
Have you read this book/series or any other works by Laekan Zea Kemp? (what a unique name!)
Published: Self-published 2014 using Vellum
The whole series is available as a bundle on KindleUnlimited!
About Laekan Zea Kemp:
She is a writer and explorer from the flatlands of West Texas, with a BA in Creative Writing from Texas Tech. Other than the paranormal The Girl In Between series, she writes multicultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, The Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts.
Check out Laekan Zea Kemp’s wordpress blog! She has just posted a Teaser Tuesday on her latest work Pen & Xander. She’s also a great supporter of indie authors, as is evident through this list of 200+ book reviewers she has compiled for other authors to use.