Summary: Jace Antonakos is headed for a life-changing Mexico vacation with his mother, aunt and younger brother. Still grieving the death of his older brother, Stefan, and fresh from a break-up with his long-time girlfriend, Cynthia, Jace decides to make getting laid the focus of his vacation. While trying to achieve his goal with a girl named Kate, Jace keeps encountering Conner, a hockey player also from Nova Scotia who reminds him of Stefan. Events conspire to foster a friendship between the two, but misunderstandings and secrets force Jace to realise the importance of the truth, both in his friendships and with his family.
Number of Pages: 246
Age Range: 16-18
Review: I hadn’t read The Space Between before, but it is now my favourite Don Aker book. Based on the blurb on the back of the book, I thought it was going to be a humourous, light-hearted story about a guy trying to lose his virginity, but instead I found a sensitive story about guilt, grief, and the secrets that have the power to destroy us.
I loved Jace’s sarcastic but witty voice, and while the erection references got to me after a while, I did feel they were appropriate for the experience of a teenage guy. I enjoyed his insightful and thoughtful point-of-view, as well as the way Aker brought truth to the meaning of Jace’s name.
Aker adds a spark of humour to serious themes of suicide and closeted homosexuality and the result is a honest, well-written book I would probably recommend for bibliotherapy. Jace’s growth from a keeper of secrets to someone who encourages himself and others to live the truth of their lives is an eye-opener for anyone who has ever experienced the heaviness of a silence containing things unsaid.
This book is for older teens due to swearing, mature themes and a suicide scene.
“A hand tugs at mine and I look down at Lucas. He’s smiling, but there are sudden tears on his cheeks, his eyes watering from the sun’s brilliance, and for a moment something in my chest catches, makes me think of the smiles that have hidden so many tears in our family this past year.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 25
“A few years ago, a wireless phone company developed an ad campaign around the slogan ‘Can you hear me now?’ and I briefly considered getting those five words tattooed on my forehead. I doubt, though, that anyone named Antonakos would have noticed.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, pages 29-30
“Sure, there are times when I resent the extra care he requires, the extra word he creates for all of us, but Lucas never fails to remind me how special things are, even the most ordinary and mundane. Like the way light reflects off silverware. Who else could make me appreciate something like that?” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 37
“I look at the meter on the taxi’s dash that marks elapsed time in pesos. the numbers slowly increasing. Without intending to, I think about Stefan and wonder if there was ever a time he thought of me as a friend, if he ever considered telling me what was wrong, what was so bad that he’d look for a way to halt that increase, to keep those numbers from counting up, forever freezing them in a single display.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 90
“And for the first time in nearly a year, I feel something different move inside me. At first, because it’s so foreign to me, I don’t recognize it.
Hope.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 124
“It’s funny how people tend to handle the grief od others. Most want absolutely nothing to do with it. If there’s anything you need . . . I swear to God, the unspoken end of that sentence is don’t expect me to be around to do it for you. What everybody really wants is for you to just get over it, to get back to being the person you were as fast as possible so they don’t have to feel so goddamn awkward any more.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 147
“There are stories in our silences
The things that don’t get said
speak louder than we ever dream they can
They echo through the space between
the place I long to be
and this never-ending empty where I am” – lyrics by Leah Delaney from The Space Between by Don Aker, 169
“Neither of us says anything for a long moment. I turn and look far down the beach, where swimmers and surfers are oblivious to the drama we’ve experienced, the tragedy we’ve sidestepped on this Caribbean sand. I’m suddenly stuck by how much we miss, how much happens around us without our knowledge. And by how much unfolds inside us without our ever knowing it’s there.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 220
“Listening to Conner repeatedly blame himself for what happened on the beach, I learned something more. That being sorry isn’t a solution. That admitting guilt is sometimes all any of us can do.” – Jace from The Space Between by Don Aker, page 222