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White Space by Ilsa J. Bick

White Space

by Ilsa J. Bick

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1691570,359 (3.04)2



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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Blurred realities, terrifying monsters, and a protagonist who "blinks" into the lives of others set the tone for the first installment of the YA "Dark Passages" trilogy. I've never read a YA book like this before, and I really wanted to like "White Space" more than I did. Bick's story is very creative, and she is a descriptive and engaging writer, but this is not her best work. While parts of the book are truly terrifying, the convoluted plot and abundance of supporting characters often left me confused. Bick also often ends chapters midsentence, which adds suspense, but also confusion, especially the next time you pick up the book.

Kathleen K. / Marathon County Public Library
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( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
A dark fantasy with dense science fiction elements that serves up a hefty helping of WTF?!! Hands down one of the most complex yet satisfying YA books I've read. See also Where Futures End.

You start off not knowing where, what, how or why, and that lost feeling is constant through, oh, 75% of the book. Clues in the books and movies alluded to and/or outright referenced are the key to grounding your experience. If you understand them - from the first (Identity) to one of the most referenced (the matrix) to the last (shutter island) - then you'll have a better idea how the story will play out.

If you're someone who reads for a story's payoff AND you enjoy a 500-page Alice in Wonderland-esque journey to that end, White Space is the book for you.

If, however, you prefer your stories (and payoffs) quick and obvious, requiring little attention along the way, skip this one. Its labyrinthine structure and plot would likely prove too much work for the sort of reward you seek.

3.5 stars
(only because it was too long; having recognized every reference as well as sensed the unnamed influences I knew early on where this story was going. The world was amazing, no doubt, but the story could've packed more punch minus 150-200 pages.) ( )
  flying_monkeys | Jan 3, 2017 |
I loved the start of this book. For the first half of the novel I was completely hooked. Bick's writing reminded me very much of early Stephen King (which I love). I kept tell everyone to read this novel!

But then, also in the King tradition, I got a bit bored with the story. It just seemed to go on for soooo long. I think for me the pacing was just off a bit.

As the first book in a series, there was also no resolution for me as the reader. I was left feeling frustrated rather than anticipating Book 2.

So although the main characters were fairly well developed, there were too many loose strings left in this book and the pacing crumbled for me halfway through the story. ( )
  cathishaw | Oct 27, 2016 |
Emma has metal plates in her head, terrible headaches and blackouts due to injuries received as a child. During blackouts, she seems to travel to other places. When she writes a short story for English that turns out to be almost identical to an unpublished story by a famous horror writer all these different places seem to slide into each other. ( )
  lilibrarian | Mar 9, 2016 |
White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa J. Bick is easily going to be one of the best fantasy/horror novels I will read all year and the year has just begun!

Teenage Emma Lindsay has metal plates in her head, no parents and an eccentric catatonic artist for a guardian. But those are Emma's regular problems, her stranger problems come when she blinks away and drops into other lives and other times. Other lives that have Emma wondering which is real and which is not.

The Emma writes a story called White Space about a group of kids stranded in a haunted house during a blizzard. A story that mirrors an unfinished work by a long dead writer known as Frank McDermott.

"...I don't care Frank. Mom shivers as if she just can't get rid of the really bad dream clinging to her brain, but keeps seeing it happen again and again, no matter where she looks. Do what you have to, but kill them. Kill the book.
What do you think you just did, Meredith? You can destroy the manuscript or my notes, but it's still there. Dad presses a fist to his chest. The book's inside. You'd have to kill me..."

Frank McDermott's story is about characters who fall out of different books and jump off the page, much as it seems happens to Emma when she blinks. And now, stranded in a blizzard with a group of young strangers, she is wondering if she is doing exactly what Frank McDermott wrote. If her reality has somehow become the story.

"...Frozen in place, she watches the red slink as it seeps across the road, never spreading, never veering, but creeping up the curb and onto the sidewalk, heading straight for the book. As soon as her blood touches the cover, dragging itself like a moist crimson tongue along the edges, curls of steam rise-and the book...quickens.
It's like my blink, when I saw Lizzie's dad-Frank McDermott-at the Dickens Mirror. Except it is a book, not a strange mirror, drinking her blood, greedily sucking and feeding, the pages pulsing and swelling, the covers bulging...and then..."

Emma, along with Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie must survive the story that is being written around them. A story more real then the world they live in. Their reality is found not in the written words, but in the white space in between them.

White Space is imaginative and brilliant. Ilsa J. Bick has come up with a grandiose concept and plotted and scored it well. Characters from various books who end up in one tale, unsure of what their reality is and convinced that they are real people. But the question that truly rise is which reality is true and will they live long enough to find it.

Bick often refers to a 2002-2003 movie called Identity with John Cusack and Ray Liotta. The story is about a group of people who end up at a road side hotel ala Bates Motel and begin to be murdered. There is a killer among them but what they don't realize is that they are in fact different pieces of one man's personality with one trying to become the dominant personality by killing the other's off. Pick it up, it is freaking awesome.

White Space is very much like that. The lines between what is real and what is not are blurred and bleed freely into one another. In less gifted hands this story would drown in the mire of its own confusion. But Black is too good of a writer to allow that to happen. In her hands it is entertaining and suspenseful. She engages her readers and knows full well that when you write a novel of this size it is a commitment from both the writer and the reader and Ilsa J. Bick holds up her side of the bargain.

White Space is the first novel by Bick I have ever read but I will freely admit I was already impressed by this author. I met her last year at the Tucson Book Festival, she was signing her books and greeting her readers, most of them young adult readers; all with her arm in a cast and sling. But she was there. In the Arizona heat, taking time to care for her readers.

White Space by Ilsa J Bick is a terrific read! ( )
  agarcia85257 | Jan 26, 2015 |
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Father, this thick air is murderous. -Sylvia Plath
For Sarah: This time, you live.
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At first, Mom thinks there are mice because of that scritch-scritch-scritching in the walls.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A seventeen-year-old girl jumps between the lines of books and into the white space where realities are created and destroyed--but who may herself be nothing more than a character written into being from an alternative universe"--

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