Infinite In Between

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Infinite In Between Book Poster Image
Captivating tale of five teens who meet by chance.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Zoe's mother is battling alcoholism and is in and out of rehab throughout the book. The story does a thoughtful job of showing how addiction upends a teen's life.

Positive Messages

It is possible to reinvent yourself as a teenager. Gregor and Mia leave their outsider identities behind, Jake comes out to his friends and family, Whitney moves beyond simply being the popular girl, and Zoe sheds her L.A. persona to become a "normal" kid in a small town high school.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All five characters manage to steer a primarily positive course throughout the book, navigating around friends making bad choices, setting goals and working toward them, making wise choices when forming new friendships.

Violence
Sex

Mostly kissing (same- and opposite-sex) and some "inside the underwear" touching and breast fondling. Gregor's father talks to him about condoms, a blow job is referred to but not described, and there's one very brief, non-graphic sex scene. 

Language

Occasional use of "boner," "screw you," and "f--k" and its variants.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few instances of teen beer drinking and marijuana smoking and one experiment with Jell-O shots. Zoe's mother's alcoholism is a major thread through the book. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Infinite iIn Between by Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things) follows five teens (two outsiders, a popular girl, a boy exploring his sexuality, and the daughter of a movie star) from their first meeting at freshman orientation through to their high school graduation. For some, their paths will cross again in fleeting ways; for others, their lives will become bound together. Using alternating narratives of the five teens, Mackler creates deftly written, relatable characters, and compelling story lines that should keep the reader's interest through the book's hefty 480 pages. There's occasional strong language including "f--k," same- and opposite-sex kissing, one brief, non-graphic sex scene, some teen drinking and pot smoking, and a mother's battle with alcoholism. 

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bygreenloversara October 3, 2015
This book is an amazing book about 5 kids and their 4 year journey through high school. Told in perspective of 5 characters who are all very likable
Teen, 15 years old Written byHRM1104 July 16, 2018

What's the story?

In INFINITE IN BETWEEN, Whitney (the popular girl), Gregor (the cello-playing nerd), Mia (the math whiz), Jake (who's in the closet), and Zoe (the daughter of a movie star) are randomly assigned to a small group during freshman orientation. As part of a "break the ice" activity, they write notes to themselves about what they hope for in their futures, hide them in the school basement, and vow to meet again after graduation to open the letters. Then they go what they all assume will be very separate ways. But two will become an unlikely couple and others close friends. By high school graduation, they will have faced some daunting personal and family challenges, including divorce, sexual identity, alcoholism, and more. And the letters they wrote as freshmen prove to be prophetic.

Is it any good?

This is a compulsively readable story of five teens who meet by chance and then find their lives intersecting in unexpected and surprising ways over the four years of high school. Unlike books in which sex and drugs play a leading role, author Carolyn Mackler has chosen a quieter path for her characters, concentrating instead on the challenges so many teens face: self-discovery, unrequited love, friends who prove not to be friends, family conflicts, and the pressures of applying to college.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teens wanting to reinvent themselves during high school. If you could reinvent yourself, what kind of person would you become?

  • How did you feel about having the narration spread out among five characters? Does it help you understand each one better?

  • Zoe's mother -- and her mother's problems -- are constantly in the tabloids and on social media. If you were a celebrity, how far would you go to protect your privacy?

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For kids who love school and coming-of-age stories

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