Between You & Me

( 5 )

Overview

Phyre knows there is something life-changing about her new drama teacher, Mia, from the moment they meet. As Phyre rehearses for the school play, she comes to realize that the unrequited feelings she has for Mia go deeper than she's ever experienced. Especially with a teacher. Or a woman. All the while, Phyre's best friend-addressed throughout the story in the second person, as "you"-stands by, ready to help Phyre make sense of her feelings. But just as Mia doesn't understand what Phyre feels, Phyre can't fathom ...

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Between You & Me

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Overview

Phyre knows there is something life-changing about her new drama teacher, Mia, from the moment they meet. As Phyre rehearses for the school play, she comes to realize that the unrequited feelings she has for Mia go deeper than she's ever experienced. Especially with a teacher. Or a woman. All the while, Phyre's best friend-addressed throughout the story in the second person, as "you"-stands by, ready to help Phyre make sense of her feelings. But just as Mia doesn't understand what Phyre feels, Phyre can't fathom the depth of her best friend's feelings...until it's almost too late for a happy ending. Characters come to life through the innovative screenplay format of this dazzling debut, and unanswered questions-is "you" male or female?-will have readers talking.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Calin’s first novel, a story of romantic entanglements and self-discovery, has a few tricks up its sleeve that help it stand out from the pack. First is the pseudo-screenplay format, which has dialogue appearing between prose sections written from the first-person perspective of 16-year-old Phyre, who comes across as the star, author, and director of her story. Calin’s second hook is that Phyre’s closest friend is referred to only as “You,” and his/her gender is never identified, recalling Steve Brezenoff’s Brooklyn Burning. Phyre and “You” are inseparable until Phyre develops feelings for the school’s passionate new drama teacher, Mia. Acting class exercises unleash Phyre and You’s emotions, and when Phyre is cast as the lead in the school play (which blatantly mirrors Phyre’s situation) she becomes increasingly distant from You while remaining blind to her friend’s romantic feelings for her. With Phyre’s interior thoughts and descriptions taking the place of stage notes, the novel reads more like an extended monologue than a conventional screenplay, but readers will feel as if they are sitting beside Phyre on her emotional roller-coaster. Ages 12–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.)
VOYA - Jennifer M. Miskec
Phyre wants to be an actress, and when beautiful new drama teacher, Mia, casts Phyre as the lead in the school play, Phyre has the chance to live out her dream. But working on the play has unintended consequences. Phyre's relationship with her lifelong best friend is strained; Phyre's leading man develops an unwanted crush on her; and, most significantly, Phyre develops a crush on Mia. Becoming infatuated with Mia—a teacher and a woman—sends Phyre reeling. But when the play's content hits a little too close to home, Phyre is able to move beyond her obsession with Mia in order to re-see how important her best friend is in her life, and that s/he has been there all along. What is interesting about this book is that Phyre's best friend, referred to throughout only as "you," is never named or otherwise gendered. Told in screenplay format, "you" could be read as a male or a female. If read as a female, this is an interesting choice; in the final scene Phyre pulls "you" into her arms for the perfect passionate movie kiss. Read as a male, however, Phyre's story "resolves" when she returns to hetero-normativity, marking her interest in a woman as merely a phase or immature idolization, rather than real romantic love. Nonetheless, Phyre's interest in Mia is depicted as being more taboo because Mia is a teacher than because she is a woman, which is worthy of note. The content, ambiguity, and play-within-a-play format are notable, though in certain ways the story itself is a bit ordinary. Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Phyre, dreaming of becoming a filmmaker one day, is thrilled about the first day of school and the start of her theater and film class. When Mia, the new student teacher walks into the classroom, Phyre is immediately drawn to her energy and charisma. Phyre is determined to impress Mia, because Mia is the teacher and the theater and film are her passions. But as the semester progresses, Phyre begins to realize that her fascination with Mia goes beyond the admiration of a student/teacher relationship. Phyre's best friend offers constancy and support throughout Phyre's confused journey of self-discovery. But Phyre doesn't realize the depth of her friend's feelings until it's almost too late. In a moment-by-moment screenplay format, Calin weaves a compelling story of first love and self-discovery. In addressing Phyre's best friend only as "you" throughout the book, Calin effectively draws the reader into the story, making it nearly impossible not to identify with the struggles Phyre and her best friend face. Readers who struggle with developing feelings of same-sex attraction will find themselves in Phyre's story, and those who struggle with understanding a gay or lesbian friend or acquaintance might find it easier to empathize after walking a few pages in Phyre's shoes. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Phyre wants to be an actress. As such, she is dramatic and self-involved. She is popular, but has a reputation for being cold and aloof because she never dates any boy for long. The 16-year-old has one longtime best friend, referred to, in an obvious plot device, as "You." In her theater studies class, Phyre comes under the spell of Mia, the student teacher. She becomes obsessed with the pretty young woman and lives for the time she can spend with her, oblivious to the effect it's having on her best friend. The story is told as a screenplay, and although the format fits the action, it also hinders it. Readers get no description or details beyond the most superficial. Phyre's crush ends as quickly as it begins. Much of the action is highly unlikely: Mia starts teaching the first day, there is no appearance of a supervising teacher, and many of Mia's actions would end her career before it began. The LGBTQ hook is weak; Phyre's crush on her teacher, her first on a female, seems to cause her little soul searching, and the failure to reveal the gender of "You" at the end is irritating. Although this novel is an easy read, it has little appeal for reluctant readers. Drama enthusiasts or girls questioning their sexuality may find it intriguing, but its purchase is strictly additional.—Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
Kirkus Reviews
A girl in love with the theater tells the story of her first great love in the form of a script. The entire tale unfolds as a present-tense confessional addressed to the titular (and never-named) "you" by her best friend, the dramatic Phyre. Phyre sets her scenes by describing what "you" is doing or telling "you" about what has happened in her absence, folding in snippets of dialogue. The action takes place over the course of the fall semester, as Phyre falls head over heels for Mia, their charismatic new theater instructor. It's a textbook crush: Phyre seeks out opportunities to catch Mia alone and then muffs them (her running criticism of her social gambits is hysterical), and she interprets the slightest gesture as freighted with meaning. Her fascination is so intense she barely pauses to wonder that the object of her desire is a woman, instead throwing herself wholeheartedly into her exhilaration. The direct-address/script format works beautifully for her story; her self-absorption is so extreme that she can't see what's going on with "you," but readers do, in those bits of dialogue Phyre records but does not reflect on. The play within a play that Phyre stars in (under Mia's direction) is a tad metafictively obvious, but the device does introduce action and an intriguing and revelatory subplot. Though hamstrung by a depressingly chick-lit-y cover, this total-immersion emotional experience is one readers will both recognize and thoroughly enjoy. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599907581
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,169,815
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Marisa Calin was born in the U.S., grew up in Bath, England, then moved to New York City at the age of eighteen to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and pursue her dreams of being an actress. She is still in hot pursuit, and when not on stage or on set uses all her spare time and training to create vivid character-driven worlds on paper.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant Novel!!

    There were so many things about this novel that caught my eye that had me crossing my fingers that I'd get a chance to read it! First, I love the front cover of this novel; immediately it made me want to get to know the person that was on it. Secondly, I loved the synopsis for this book!! Last, but certainly not least, I love the fact that this novel was written in screenplay format!! Phyre, the main character, is a 16-year-old girl who has a passion for acting, and after she meets her drama teacher, Mia, she suddenly has a passion for her too. Phyre's best friend, You, was an incredible character; it was definitely bittersweet not knowing the gender of You. Of course the curiosity is killing you to know whether or not You is male or female, but it was quite entertaining and it made me feel more involved with the novel. As the story goes on, it becomes a play within a play, which I also enjoyed. Phyre's character can be related to very easily; when you're sixteen, most people do have crushes on their teachers, and although Phyre's crush on Mia seemed more like an obsession at times, it was nice to see how she dealt with her crush on Mia. As an aspiring screenwriter/author, I appreciated this novel to the highest; I have so much respect for Marisa Calin and I think this was a brilliant novel!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    No. Just no.

    This book has a great plot but is entirely confusing. Who doea she love mia? You? Anyother guys? Well i loved how it ended but to me there was way to much conflict between her and you. She went through a whole year of complete crap for it ending weird. I would have wrote it with actual "" marks instead of the weird headers that she uses to say whose speaking i got lost lots and confused as to whose speaking and her thoughts. I cant believe she dosent see the love her best friend gives her and shes to enthralled by herown obbsessions to five a crap about her friend.. he has a right to be mad and she just dosent get it. Wouldnt really reccomend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I'm very excited about this book. It's a truly unique read with

    I'm very excited about this book. It's a truly unique read with all the components that make it a stand out for YA and general fiction. Breaking ground in the genre, "Between You & Me" is a screen play within a novel including a school play story that is so well written and so dynamic it will have you reading far more quickly and more compulsively than anything in your hands lately! I was blown away. While it sounds strange on paper, by way of my review no doubt, the format works amazingly well, and Marisa Calin is genius to think of it.



    Quick witted and snappy dialog makes the book move at a bullet's pace. The depth of emotion conveyed seems unlikely with such spare words, which is one of the charming things about this book. We are brought into a situation of the love-lorn that it both poignant and profoundly expressive between two different teens, and two different scenarios simultaneously, and they both work in such perfect heart-stopping harmony. I found it timeless. If any of you remember "Love Story," you'll understand how few words can convey a world of angst and true depth of caring. This is such a book.



    In the summary of the book, you'll find the outline of the story of Phyre and her obsessive crush on Mia, her drama teacher...and her "blind" relationship at the same time with the "You" of her play. There is nothing more I would give away on that count except to say that the invisible is so beautifully drawn here on the "You" character that you ache for him/her. This, of course, shows the writing talent and expressive gifts of the author.



    I enjoyed very much, as well, her instructions to the drama class on how to find the emotions and meanings in their acting. What a wonderful way to work Phyre's emotional turmoil and "You's" behind the scenes feelings into the story/play. And then, the school play on top of the storyline play was so enjoyable a read.



    This is a unique book. One that I won't be surprised to find visited with awards this year. Get it and experience a wonderful story. Guaranteed to please you. Good for Bloomsbury!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Not a full book

    Seemed like it would be a good book but was just a sample.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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