What I love about YA is the risks that authors are willing to take with their stories — the way that a few are willing to challenge assumptions and norms. Debut author Marisa Calin challenged all of my assumptions in Between You And Me, a unique first novel with a fantastic premise, but unfortunately one I was unable to connect with.
Between You And Me by Marisa Calin is told in screenplay format. It stars Phyre, a teenage girl with aspirations of being an actress. There’s a new teacher in town named Mia who runs the acting class elective. Sophisticated and charming, Mia becomes the subject of a crush for Phyre. This subverts the norm because usually it is a hetero crush, I thought that bit was kind of cool, actually. Yet, feelings for a character simply known as you complicate the whole situation.
I think the very best thing about Between You And Me is that it makes one examine their heteronormative assumptions. A lot of the time I tend to assume couples are heterosexual, because of my cisgendered privilege. Of course, this isn’t ideal at all. So, I guess the more and more one gets to examine and check their privilege, the, the better for creating an atmosphere of acceptance.
Yet, all awesome concept aside, I found myself at a distance from Phyre. She’s the sort of person I don’t like in real life. She’s very overdramatic and doesn’t seem to notice or care about You until her not-noticing affects their relationship. That’s very irritating to me. I’m just saying, I don’t see myself giving her a BFF charm or anything.
For me personally, character connection is tantamount to my reading experience. Thus, I found Between You And Me by Marisa Calin to be simply an okay read, rather than exceptional. The concept is fantastic, but perhaps my blase feeling is just a personal quirk and based on my personal quirks, so I guess I would recommend Between You And Me to readers who don’t have my hang-ups.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.
Other reviews of Between You & Me by Marissa Calin:
Alexa Loves Books – “so… refreshing. And that’s because it was different”
Rather Be Reading – “has easily become one of my top reads of 2012”