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Ethan Between Us

Ethan Between Us

4.8 6
by Anna Myers

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Ethan is different. He is gorgeous, easy to talk to, and a uniquely gifted pianist. But the doctors label him schizophrenic. When his friend Clare reveals Ethan's secret, she sets in motion a tragic turn of events that ripples throughout the entire community.


Ethan is different. He is gorgeous, easy to talk to, and a uniquely gifted pianist. But the doctors label him schizophrenic. When his friend Clare reveals Ethan's secret, she sets in motion a tragic turn of events that ripples throughout the entire community.

Editorial Reviews

To quote KLIATT's Nov. 1998 review of the hardcover edition: This is a story of first love, set in Oklahoma a generation ago, full of foreboding and yet with an unexpected ending. Clare is in the summer between 9th and 10th grade, expecting to spend her time doing chores around the house and enjoying free time with her best friend Liz. A new family with a 17-year-old son named Ethan moves into the small neighborhood just as Liz is called away unexpectedly to help her aunt. Ethan is kind, gorgeous, and easy to talk to, so he and Clare quickly become close friends. There are a few kisses here and there, but this is not a story about sexual awakening. Ethan reveals to Clare that he has been hospitalized with schizophrenia because he heard the voice of a 19th-century musician—and he describes with horror how he was given electric shock therapy. He wants to avoid at all costs returning to that mental hospital, and Clare wants to do all she can to protect him. When school begins, Liz returns and feels extremely hurt that Ethan is now Clare's best friend and gets most of her attention. This jealousy leads eventually to tragedy, but not in any predictable way. The passages about the tensions between girlfriends when one of them has a boyfriend are quite realistic, and YAs will understand each girl's frustrations and hurt feelings. Also painfully accurate are the scenes of malicious teasing directed toward Ethan when everyone finds out he is mentally ill, and the ongoing torment of a mentally handicapped classmate. The climatic deaths and the sorrow of the survivors are also quite moving, if somewhat sentimentally portrayed. Sophisticated teens will find these adolescents from anotherera almost quaint in their ignorance of mental illness and for other reasons, but even they will enjoy the story. An ALA Quick Pick. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Walker, 154p, 98-10697, $7.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
Children's Literature
Clare and Liz, best friends in rural Oklahoma, drift apart when a new boy moves into town. When Liz suddenly leaves town, Clare and Ethan forge a deep friendship. Ethan's past contains some disturbing secrets, which cause problems in Clare and Liz's friendship. This novel successfully mixes what one could consider "normal" teenage problems with deeper and darker issues. Clare and Ethan's newfound relationship brings out jealousy and vindictiveness in Liz. This subplot is true to life, making it predictable throughout the novel. Another subplot involving Motie Ann, a character who looks up to Clare but is an outcast, is realistic without the predictability. In the novel, Clare shares her inner thoughts about being torn between befriending Motie Ann and not wanting to end up as an outcast herself. This enables the reader to identify with Liz's inner turmoil. The author does a good job of introducing some tougher issues such as mental illness and the paranormal. Ethan's parents act in a stereotypical way regarding his supposed mental illness, and in fact, at times, seem overly stereotyped. The author brings in the subject of the supernatural; this "ghostly" element makes it different from many other young adult novels. An interesting and engrossing novel, Clare's character took me back to my own teen years. The story reflects reality closely enough to be believable, yet is spiced up enough to make it an enjoyable read. While the author might have further developed aspects of the plot, perhaps her intention was for readers to use their imaginations. 1998, Walker, $15.95. Ages 13 up. Reviewer: Nicole Edwards
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A story of friendships, first love, and the trials of being a teenager. While all those elements would seemingly make for a compelling YA read, this slim, unaffecting novel will leave readers cold. Best friends Clare and Liz are high school freshmen living in 1960s Oklahoma in the midst of an oil camp. Predictably, a new boy comes to town and soon comes between them. Conveniently, Liz has to leave town for the summer, leaving Clare alone with Ethan. They become fast friends, and she soon discovers her feelings for him are deepening. Although she realizes she may be leaving her best friend out in the cold, Clare finds herself drawn even closer to Ethan when she learns of his mental illness. Ethan, diagnosed as schizophrenic, is a prodigy pianist, apparently coached by a 19th-century composer who speaks to him. So, in a nutshell, Clare pines for Ethan, Ethan continues to hear voices, and when Liz returns, her friendship with Claire is especially strained. Here the book's denouement begins. Secrets are spilled, tempers flare, and a tragic event (which is laboriously foreshadowed) brings the book to a somber, unsatisfying end. Basically, despite some well-written descriptive passages, none of the characters are drawn well enough for readers to care about or empathize with them.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Myers (The Keeping Room, 1997, etc.) returns to the red-dirt section of Oklahoma, exploring the line between inspiration and madness. Clare, who plans to attend college, and Liz, who is passionate about dance, have never seen a boy like Ethan Bennington in Collins Creek, Oklahoma. Most of the boys in their 1960s oil company camp are interested in hot cars and their future jobs in the oil fields. Newcomer Ethan, handsome and sensitive, plays the piano beautifully and is easy to talk to. While Liz is away for the summer, Clare grows close to Ethan. She can't understand why Ethan's parents frown on his music until he tells her that he's been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and has spent time in a mental hospital for confessing that he hears the voice of and sees a 19th-century composer, Friedrich, who knew Brahms, died young, and wants his own composition, Forest Concerto, written down. When Liz returns and school starts, Clare keeps the details of Ethan's past from her; Liz discovers Ethan's secret in Clare's diary and, feeling shut out by her best friend for the first time since kindergarten, spreads the information around their small school. With strong characterizations, believable dialogue, a fresh setting, and a complex web of relationships, Myers writes provocatively about the intriguing subject of genius and creativity. Readers will only wish the discussion, curtailed abruptly when Ethan heroically attempts to save a retarded girl in a fire, could have been brought to a more prosaic, less explosive, ending. (Fiction. 12-14)

From the Publisher

“With strong characterizations, believable dialogue, a fresh setting, and a complex web of relationships, Myers writes provocatively about the intriguing subject of genius and creativity.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A highly atmospheric teen romance with appealing characters and a hint of the supernatural--and, as short as it is, it makes a satisfying, quick read.” —Booklist

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.45(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Anna Myers is the author of more than one dozen books for Walker & Company, including Tulsa Burning, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and Flying Blind, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist. Anna lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Ethan Between Us 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
gloiri_p More than 1 year ago
Ethan between us is a story about a girl who always lived a simple life. Only her best friend , her parent, and no one else. But all of the sudden, her whole life changed. she has to decide whether to be with her best friend or the new boy she likes. She doesn¿t want to lose her friendship that has been for many years, for a boy that she just met. But she also likes the boy a lot, and it¿s the first time that she looks at a boy in a different way.
During this story many things changed from how the main characters and her best friend dreamed it. They take many risks. But it¿s up to you to find out whether it¿s with her best friend or the new boy in town. It¿s a wonderful story with love and adventure. I think it¿s a great story but it is up to you to rate the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Ethan Between us is a book full of suspence. Claire is riped of by Her old best friend Liz and her new Best friend Eathan who is also her boy friend shes know ethan for only 3 months and already loves him when tragedy strikes.... This book is about loyalty and friendship as well as believing and kindness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a really touching story about a young girl, Clare, that falls in love with a young man, Ethan, but their relationship interferes with her best friend Liz. Ethan has a lot of issues and the word gets out that he's been in a mental hospital, which makes Clare dislike Liz more and more. The ending is really sad but its a good book nonetheless. If you have the time read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most wonderful book I have ever read. It pulled me in so that I laughed and cried right along with Clare & Ethan. I highly, highly recommend reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book allowed me to feel as if i was Clare. I could feel her emotions. OI was sucked in to the book and was able to read the entire book in 1 night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed it. I was sucked in and read it all in one night.