Between You And Me Marisa Calin Book Review

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 Marisa Calin Book Cover

Between You And Me

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

Hobbitsies – “a beautifully written contemporary that touched on important issues

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 30 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and baby, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. I assume you mean “unable” to connect with? Not to be an annoying know-it-all, but more to alleviate my own confusion, LOL.

    Anyway, I’ve heard mixed things about this book. I am still thoroughly intrigued by the concept – especially the unknown gender of You – so I’m sure I’ll wind up reading it eventually. Sorry it wasn’t your particularly cup of tea, though.

  2. I had trouble connecting too although I think it was the second-person perspective thing-I thought Phyre was interesting but I always get confused when “You” is used and it doesn’t refer to me, the reader.

  3. You made some really insightful comments on this book, hun. I really like that in this story, it’s a girl crushing on her female teacher because it must happen almost as often as girls crushing on male teachers and I know what you mean about not liking characters like Phyre

  4. I’ve been hearing similar things from other people about this book. The format intrigues me, but like you, I have to connect to a character to enjoy the story.

  5. There is so much I love about this idea. The screen play format, the crush on the female teacher, etc. I’m bummed to hear that it wasn’t absolutely phenomenal though. I was really hoping for that because of all the great aspects of it.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  6. Hm. Sounds interesting. Not sure its for me but thanks for the review. 😀

  7. Hm. I kind of liked how Phyre was over dramatic because a) she was an actress but b) we were kind of in her head and in her thoughts and I know (because I have my old journals) and because I know myself that I can be like that when it comes to over thinking crazy emotions and then ignoring other people. (Who knows… maybe You was ignoring people too. haha)

    Still, glad you were into the format. I really liked it and I wish there were more writers out there who were willing to play around with something new. (As long as it was successful, that is.) It was a true performance arts piece and I felt distinctly in it and could really relate to P’s feelings. In fact, I closed the book too many times because I’m like “damn. I’ve been there.”

  8. I started this book and I got a little bit in. The concept is really awesome, but I get distracted every time You comes in because I’m like, “That’s definitely a girl. No, no, that’s a guy. No, I was right. Girl. Definitely girl.”

    Great review!

  9. Interesting, I think the format doesn’t help.
    I would like to say that I like inovative narration styles but 9 out of 10 times it makes it harder for me to connect with the characters. I was put off the moment you said it was a screen-play format, because I have read plays and it’s not always delightful.

  10. I really liked this one! I thought it was a unique way to tell a story, plus it did challenge my own assumptions about characters and genders. I didn’t particularly love Phyre, but I could understand just where she was coming from. And I totally loved You, but wished that he/she stood up for him/her self more!

    (Thanks for including a link to my review!)

  11. I agree with this review! I thought this was a nice little story but I never felt the emotional connection to any of the characters. It was a really interesting way to look at gender perceptions.

  12. I’m intrigued by the fact that this is written in screenplay format. I’ve never read a book like that before so I may give this a shot. Great points on the gender assumptions! I just read Every Day by David Levithan and it also made me think about gender and sexuality.

  13. I enjoyed your review! You voiced a lot of the potential concerns I had for this novel. I’m not sure it’s entirely my kind of thing. I may check it out from the library and see though – it definitely sounds really intriguing.

  14. I just finished this book, and I have to say I thought it was amazing. I read a lot of lesbian YA, and they are usually pretty bad. But I felt that Melisa Calin got the emotions just right. She nailed the confusion, especially between “do I like girls or just this one particular girl?” (a question that is still, frustratingly, open at the end of the novel…at least to the reader). I did think Phyre was a tad dramatic, but other than that I’m quite pleased.

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