Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Between You & Me

Between You & Me
By Marisa Calin
Expected publication August 7, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA

WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead.

Phyre feels an almost instant connection with her new theater teacher, Mia. As the school year passes, Phyre begins to keep things from you and you worry about this new glitch in your friendship. Told in screenplay format with the reader being addressed as "you," Phyre's best friend, this book studies the intensity of relationships.

My boss brought this galley back from the Texas Library Association conference and I picked it up, intrigued by the format and narration. I wasn't really sure what to expect (and I'll be honest, I totally rolled my eyes at the idea of someone legitimately named "Phyre"), but I figured I'd give it a shot to see how the story played out and because GLBT lit is always welcome. The book is compelling, most likely due to how the story is told. It feels immediate and involving because the reader is part of the story - often, Phyre is speaking directly to you. However, the story didn't really grip me like I expected it to. I had a hard time believing Phyre's own thoughts and feelings about the situation - it seemed obvious that she was grossly misreading everything and, to me, even a melodramatic and passionate high school student would likely not be as mistaken about the nature of their relationship as Phyre was. While the format of the novel makes it more immediate and engaging, I don't feel as though I really know the characters. There is not very much background information given abour Phyre or her best friend, just bits and pieces that are recounted throughout the story. This made it a little bit difficult to get as involved in the story as I could have. Additionally, I found it all very predictable. From the moment Mia arrives, it's easy to see what Phyre is going to think of her and what "you" are going to think of her. It's also abundantly clear that the relationship between Phyre and "you" is much more ambiguous than initially indicated. Finally, the copy on the back of my ARC made the ending sound far more dramatic than it actually plays out. Overall, this is not a bad read, but it could have been stronger and I don't find it as focused on the GLBT aspect as I would have imagined.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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