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The World Between Us

Written by Sarah Ann Juckes

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Gritty Reads Romance / Relationship Stories Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on The World Between Us

A girl with chronic illness and an artist boy with family troubles form a beautiful life-changing connection

What a stirring sunbeam of a story, with characters you’ll care about, be moved by and take enormous inspiration from. Mapping the transformational bond between a girl incapacitated by chronic illness and a young artist, The World Between Us is shot-through with a resonant reminder to appreciate being able to do what seem like life’s little things - leaving the house, being by the sea, going to a friend’s party - all of which are beyond Alice’s desperate reach. It’s also an ode to the power of friendship, opening up, and following your heart, delivered with 100% charm, 0% cheese.


From her bed, Alice’s only experience of the outside world comes through watching Stream Casts. Though this means “I don’t have to be trapped inside by body. I can be strapped to the chest of brilliant people and I can watch them live lives that could perhaps be my own,” Alice remains a silent spectator - until she connects with Rowan, that is. But though their friendship forms fast, she initially keeps her illness from him, and it turns out that he’s struggling with secret troubles of his own.


The juxtaposition of Alice’s bed-bound incapacitation and her best friend Cecelia’s effervescence is deeply poignant, especially when Alice feels she has to downplay her condition when Cecelia visits (Alice’s other friends have long since dropped by the wayside in the wake of her illness). The same goes for the price Alice pays each time she does a little of what she wants (and needs) to do - doing anything costs her dearly. Then there’s the guilt she feels about her parents who “gave up everything” for her. But through their connection, Alice and Rowan both learn to assuage their guilt, and to live, as affirmed by the unexpected, breath-taking ending, which is really only the beginning.

Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.


Joanne Owen

The World Between Us Synopsis

Alice may be bed-bound, but every day Stream Cast brings the world to her. From the streets of Tokyo to a masterclass in video games, she experiences other people's wild and exciting lives all without ever leaving her room. But everything changes when Alice is introduced to a new streamer. Rowan encourages Alice to stop watching, and start taking control. But Rowan has a secret he's trying to hide from Alice - and from himself. As Alice and Rowan build a bigger and more beautiful world together, their secrets threaten to tear them apart. Would you risk everything for love?

With shades of All the Bright Places and Five Feet Apart, The World Between Us is a powerful and thought-provoking story about falling in love with someone a whole world apart.

The World Between Us Press Reviews

Praise for Outside;

'Impossible to put down - this is a writer to watch.' C.J. Skuse

'This is well-written, [and] sensitive on issues.' Books for Keeps

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241462072
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241462072
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Sarah Ann Juckes
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Romance / Relationship Stories, Personal Social Health Economic
Collections: 30 Books with Positive Images of Disability,

About Sarah Ann Juckes

Sarah Ann Juckes writes books for young people. Her YA debut, Outside, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2020, shortlisted for Mslexia's Children's Novel Award and longlisted for the Bath Novel Award. She works with writers from all over the world via Jericho Writers and is on the board for Creative Future, a charity supporting under-represented writers. You can often find her hibernating in her writing shed in East Sussex, with her cat.

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