Space Between Us by Jamaal Aflatooni

Thank you to author Jamaal Aflatooni for the gifted copy of Space Between Us for an honest review.

Science Fiction is not a go to genre for me, but when I learned what this book was about, I was intrigued. I'm not sure if this book is being marketed as young adult, but I think it could and probably should be. That is not to say that it is only for young people, but really, like many YA books, the message is appropriate for all.

Space Between Us takes place in the USA, in a town called Crimson and eventually moves to Washington, D.C. It was nostalgic to me; a reminder of 1980's sci-fi shows or movies like D.A.R.Y.L. or My Secret Identity. Darwin is the main character. He is a teenage boy who has a list of things that make him different and makes it hard for him to fit in. He looks different, has a potassium deficiency and he has visions or dreams of another world that doctors tell him are signs of schizophrenia, but they are more like memories to him.

There is good foreshadowing throughout the novel that slowly reveal secrets are being kept and things are not always what they seem to be. What is evident is that Darwin is a compassionate, kind, and caring individual. He eventually makes friends with Tyler, who is new to the area and this changes his life for the better. When Darwin eventually learns the truth about his life, he does what he can to promote positivity and compassion in the world.

There are likable characters and good character development. There are some details that I think didn't need to be included, but nothing that affected the story line. The time setting is never explicitly stated that I recall, but it was confusing. It had the feel of 1980's because there seemed to be no use of the internet and people actually called people. Texting is referred to once when Darwin is still in high school and then the person actually calls which is not how teenagers use technology. Darwin's parents keep him away from tv news and nothing is mentioned about the internet which would be harder to do. Even when the story moves to Washington and Darwin is in his 20's, there is email and cell phones, but it is not used the way I would imagine it to be if it were set now..

What is most important about this novel are its timely topics of bullying, prejudice, racism and violence. The main message is of all people working together for the common good, giving back to others, and being open to others. Darwin's experiences allow us to see society and ourselves from a new perspective.

Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛

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