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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
The Space Between Fire and Ashes by Stephen McClellan is a beautiful young adult novel about acceptance, strength, and hope. Depressed, hopeless, and detached from everyone around him since his mother overdosed on meth, Aiden was not sure what his purpose was in life. Determined to end her life, Asia just couldn’t do it anymore. Watching her disabled, wheelchair-bound brother and her parents’ desperation to cling to any semblance of a family was slowly destroying her. As fate would have it, Asia and Aiden tried to commit suicide at the same place and at the same time. After Asia and Aiden found comfort in the knowledge they weren’t alone, fighting their demons became just a little better, a little easier. From there onward, it was up to these two to figure out a way to let go of the pain of the past, embrace the present, and look forward to the future. Sounds easy, but it never is.
Stephen McClellan wrote of the heartfelt and emotional journey of two teenagers who suffered. Anastasia, a.k.a. Asia, was depressed after losing her best friend, having a paralyzed brother, and practically being isolated by friends. Aiden had friends he openly communicated with and even had a girlfriend, but his nightmares didn’t let him live. Both were depressed, both had a different story to tell, and neither was ready to share their burden or bear it alone. So many people would be able to find a piece of themselves in these characters and gain strength from their journeys. Stephen McClellan is gentle in his approach, his words are calm yet definite, and he gives no false hope but gives little bits of courage to his characters (and readers). The setting was bleak (which was expected), but the characters were never truly alone even though they felt like they were. Each dialogue, each description, and every new chapter felt better than the previous one. The Space Between Fire and Ashes is an emotional journey that I know I will revisit very soon.