Note: this is slightly spoilery. if that bothers you, read until you get to the dog, then stop. Dogs always sidetrack me.

“Everything in Mobius stretched to reach the light: we built our houses on stilts, our trees grew tall and spindly, our shadows were long.”

When you’re stuck between yesterday and tomorrow, where is there to go? Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing, 2015) was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers 2016 and longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. I’m hopeful of winning all round!

“The whole time the answers were somewhere in between, just out of reach.”

Jack’s family life isn’t the best:

“Two parents, psycho sister, zero expectations.”

But really, every aspect of her life isn’t the best: dead end job, dead end boyfriend, dead end town.

“All of my catastrophes tallied and ticked off.”

Her childhood neighbour Jeremiah returns to Mobius, as strange as ever. Among other things, he’s keeping an eye on her parent’s house, which hasn’t moved an inch. (Thanks for that J!?) And Jack meets an odd newcomer in the suicide forest outside town. The forest that spreads a pall over everything.

“Every one of my actions had an equal and opposite effect; everything I did threw out the balance.”

Then Jack loses her job because the roadhouse is dying, just like the town. Jack and her new friends Jeremiah and Roly discover the abandoned drive-in one aimless night. Fixing the projector so they can watch movies becomes their summer project as the long, hot, beer filled nights drag one into the other. Life is picking up for Jack, until something strange in the town dam is dregded up.

“I wished I could unzip my skin and leave it behind in a puddle on the ground.”

In between the existential angst, Jack’s confusion with words is hilarious. When Jack tells the Christmas lunch table she bought prophylactics and they exploded, I exploded too. Everyone’s blank stares elicit:

“They should be okay, though, they’re just a bit oozy.”

Glad that’s cleared up. The mobius strip that is Jack’s life seems inescapable. I spent a lot of Inbetween Days wanting to shake her, but really Jack’s a girl after my own heart.

“There’s only so much sci-fi and time travel I can stand before brain fluid starts leaking from my ears.”

dog day afternoon

Do I like Vikki Wakefild’s writing because of the dogs? Probably. The main thing I remember about All I Ever Wanted is poor Gargoyle stuck in the shed. In Inbetween Days Gypsy is a constant presence, but she’s dying, like Mobius. When Jack accepts this, her life turns a corner, a heart-wrenching one, but necessary.

“I ran Gypsy’s velvet ears through my fingertips. I strummed her ribs. I picked one song to match my grief and played it over and over in my head until the vet came an hour later. Gypsy didn’t stir. I didn’t let go.”

Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield

“All anyone did in Mobius was sleep.”

Jack’s about to wake them up.