Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Between You & Me

Between You & Me by Marisa Calin
3.5/5 stars
Bloomsbury, 2012
245 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love love love epistolary novels (this one is told as a screenplay in homage to the main character's love of films) so I thought this would be an enjoyable read. Plus it had a couple of hooks that sounded different from other YA novels-I don't think I've ever read a book that had those two elements together.

But I think it ended up being too gimmicky. First the book is told in second-person POV which always confuses me. The "you" does not refer to me the reader and it is hard to remind myself of that. The "you" refers to Phyre's best friend whose gender is not revealed but who is not too subtly in love with Phyre. We the reader are encouraged to make up our own minds about the gender of the friend (personally I think the friend is a girl but I don't have a specific reason why.) Would love to hear your thoughts-just say agree or disagree in the comments if you've read.

Beyond those gimmicks, the story is pretty unexceptional except for the fact that Phyre becomes obsessed with and thinks she is in love with the new drama teacher Mia.  This teacher never acts unprofessionally but Phyre goes way overboard due to the extremes of her feelings. She doesn't really question that her feelings are for a woman whereas she had really only ever crushed on boys before-a more hopeful view of sexual orientation than is usually presented? I feel like most people would have spent more time wondering about that. I was also uncomfortable with Phyre's feelings; although I know that students get crushes on teachers plenty, it never happened to me and I couldn't identify such an attachment.

Overall: A quick read with a good hook that didn't quite work for me.

Cover: Perfectly appropriate although it is zoomed a little too close on her face for my taste.


  1. I completely agree with your assessment about this feeling gimmicky. For me, the whole gimmick and being irritable with Phyre kind of turned me off.

    Love your honest review :-)

  2. I've been curious about this one. It sounded interesting but I'm never a huge fan of books told in screenplay style especially when it involves second person (I have the same kind of confusion you have with it). Phyre doesn't really seem like a character I'd really like so I'm not sure if I'll give it a try or not. Thanks for the honest/great review! :)

  3. Not generally a fan of epistolary fiction (which I often think is gimmicky in of itself) and agree that second person is extremely tough to pull off and can be distracting, but in this book both the screenplay format and the second person were used to mask the gender of You, so I went with it and ended up liking the book!

    Just finished Every Day by David Levithan -- another book with a gender-mysterious character!

  4. I really loved this one - I thought the gimmicks worked. I did think you was a girl, since Phyre's parents never seemed bothered about them hanging together.

  5. I've read a ton of reviews for this one lately and they are mixed, mixed, mixed. For me, I don't think I would have liked the screenplay style. Outside of all of the other components of the story (the gimmicks), I just don't think it would flow well for me.

    From reviews I've read, I think bloggers *seem to be* split around half/half for the character's gender, which is really interesting to me.


Thank you for commenting-I love to read your thoughts! Feel free to leave a link to your latest post so I can stop by!

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