Within Reach: A Novel by Jessica Stevens

Within Reach: A Novel by Jessica StevensWithin Reach by Jessica Stevens
Published by Sparkpress on May 17th 2016
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 246
Format: Paperback

What if, after you died, you had a chance to come back? Fix the one fatal mistake that turned everything around. One more chance with the one you left behind? Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Xander Hemlock’s summer to-do-list. Finding ways to spend more time with his girlfriend, Lila, was the most critical thinking he planned on doing. That was before he found himself trapped in a realm of darkness with thirty days to convince Lila he’s not dead, well, not completely. As Xan tries to show Lila she isn’t alone, she struggles to comprehend why six months ago her life was perfect, she was on her way to becoming a professional dancer, her parents were still married, and her boyfriend was alive. Now, with her anorexic tendencies stronger than ever, she must decide which is the lesser of two evils; letting go, or holding on to the unreasonable, yet overpowering feeling that Xan is trying to tell her something.Within Reach is a story of two teenagers discovering that sometimes, it takes more than one lifetime to get it right. Join Lila and Xan as they struggle to find the inner strength to trust in their intuition. 

As part of the BookSparks 2016 YA Summer Reading, I was provided with this book, Within Reach: A Novel by Jessica Stevens.  This book isn’t what I would consider a “deep” book, but it had an interesting storyline. It was a cross between a love story, a mystery, and maybe even a paranormal book.

The main characters are 17-year old Xander Hemlock, and his soulmate/girlfriend, Lila Walker. The writer provides us with all the information we need in the first couple of pages and we learn about their relationship. It’s a very nice love story that’s shared from the main characters’ point of view separately. Sometimes I find that alternating viewpoints are distracting or hard to follow, but in this instance, it worked out perfectly and filled us in on the story as a whole. 


Within Reach takes readers through the experience of the two soulmates refusing to let go of each other, even if one of them is dead. While Xander didn’t plan to die, he’s somehow trapped in this other “realm” – a spiritual plane of sorts – and he has 30 days to convince his girlfriend, Lila that he isn’t dead.  Xan does everything he can to be certain that he and Lila’s souls are still connected and that they will be together forever.

The story got a little too “hocus pocus” for me, but that might be due to my black and white thought process. Perhaps if you are one of those panoramic view kind of thinkers, this might be a book for you, but for me, it was just not believable.   Maybe I’m just too old for this young adult book after all.  Within Reach received a ton of good reviews, so don’t let my narrow minded thinking stop you from checking it out though. 


Jessica Stevens grew up knowing without a doubt that she would become a professional ballet dancer. When life told her otherwise, she went to college like the rest of the world and earned a degree in psychology.  Shortly after, while raising her two boys, she found herself glued to her computer all hours of the night while everyone else slept. Today she lives in suburbs of Milwaukee spending as much time as possible on lakes and rivers.

BookSparks YA

I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the 2016 Young Adult Summer Reading Challenge #YASummerReads in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.

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