Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Between You & Me - Marisa Calin

Between You & Me book cover
Between You & Me by Marisa Calin
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Estelle || ARC

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.

ME
What should I say to all these visitors who come to the blog today? 

YOU
Weren't you going to tell them about this incredible book that you finished reading? You know the one, that book that Estelle lent you? The one that reminds you how awesome she is at recommending books to you that you'd love?

ME
I suppose I could... if I could find the right words to convey how I'm feeling. 

I duck my head and concentrate on studying the keyboard of my laptop, well aware that you are looking at me. When I can stand it no longer, I take a deep breath and try to put my feelings into words.

ME
BETWEEN YOU & ME was just so... refreshing. And that's because it was different.

YOU
Different? What do you mean?

ME
Well, it's written in the format of a screenplay. Reading that made me feel like I was an active participant in the story, and not just watching these characters live their lives out. While I read the book, I actually mouthed the words or said them out loud - I guess you could say I acted them out. It made me feel a more powerful connection to the story and its characters.

YOU
Who were the characters anyway?

ME
I'm so glad you asked! That's actually one of my favorite parts of the story. The book revolves around three characters - Mia, Phyre and You.

YOU
Me?

ME
No, not you. But the other character was simply called You.

You raise an eyebrow at me. I shrug.

YOU
That's weird.

ME
Let me explain a little so you can understand. Phyre is the main character, and we read the story from her point of view. Mia is the drama teacher at Phyre and You's school - and Phyre develops some... well, feelings for her. You is Phyre's best friend, who's pretty much there for Phyre throughout the whole book.

YOU
Well, now that I know who Phyre and Mia and You are, I think I have an idea of the story. But why doesn't You have a name?

ME
That's the genius part of the novel! Well, at least to me anyway. You doesn't have a name because it leaves the character open to interpretation. It's up to the reader to cast You in the story, what she looks like or what her name is... And what's more interesting is that You's gender is never specified. 

YOU
So that means... You could be a girl or a boy?

I nod emphatically and you look at me, confused. Suddenly, your expression changes and I see that you've become fascinated with what I'm saying.

ME
I think it's a genius concept that MARISA CALIN has employed in this book. By not being specific about who You is, it kind of leaves it up to the reader to imagine. I love the fact that there's no specific gender - and that it could actually work either way - because it kind of makes you think harder about what you're reading.

YOU
How so?

ME
Well, I personally realized that, due to pre-conceived gender notions, I would find myself casting You as either a girl or a boy. It was all dependent on the moment that was being described or the little quirks mentioned. I love how MARISA CALIN seems to subtly ask us to question that sort of thing with this book.

YOU
So, in the end was You a boy or a girl?

ME
I can't tell you. I'm still on the fence about it. To be honest, when I read the book at first, You was a girl. Halfway in, You turned into a boy. It's so cool!

You shake your head at the expression of pure glee on my face.

YOU
How was the writing? Oh, and the story?

ME
I loved how the writing was simple, but used words that blended together in a very smooth, melodic way. There was a nice rhythm to the writing, and it was easy to read along. And as for the story, it was incredible. I could totally relate to Phyre's feelings for Mia - I mean, we've all had a crushes for people that we shouldn't have had crushes on, right? It was also a lot of fun reading about the play they did because, well, you know I'm a theater geek.

YOU
Well, duh. I still can't believe you've made me sit through Wicked more than once.

ME
...

YOU
Anyway. So, what would you tell me or well, anyone else about this book?

I look thoughtful for a moment, thinking about what I'm going to say next.

ME
I would say that it may not necessarily be a book that everyone will enjoy, but I would recommend to people who want to try something that's unique and fun to read. It's relatively short, so the story does move fast, but that's probably a bonus to most readers. Like you, for instance.

You roll your eyes at me and I laugh. 

YOU
Let's go get some ice cream.

ME
Let's go do that! And maybe I'll grab you a copy of BETWEEN YOU & ME while we're at it. And that's only if you're nice to me.

You just smile at me and take my arm. We leave the room.

-----

In order to sum up this little screenplay (which I hope you enjoyed), here's what I'm going to say about BETWEEN YOU & ME. The writing is incredibly unique, and easy to read along with. The story provokes the reader into being active - whether in acting out the story or in casting You. And I would definitely recommend giving this a try if you want something that's different from anything you've read before. MARISA CALIN did a terrific job with this novel, and I can't wait to read more from her!

12 comments:

  1. Hahaha *fist pump*
    This was such a cool review! You win for awesome of the day!! Oh, and the book sounds great too! :D

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  2. Cool review! This reminds me of some of the themes in Every Day by David Levithan where the relationship in the book really depends on the readers views on gender identity and love. Sounds cool!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  3. Lovely review! I really like the cover of this one. Plus the book sounds amazing!

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  4. I'm so glad you decided to structure your review like this. So creative & so perfect for this read. I'm so relieved (and thrilled) you felt as strongly about it as I did. Thanks for spreading the word!

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  5. What an awesome review, Alexa!!! I loved it! And what a unique way to write a book ... I'll have to check it out sometime. It's nice to find something different among the masses!

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  6. This is such a great review! I've been looking forward to reading this book, and your review makes me want to read it even more! It's so cool that You's gender is never specified. And I like how you mentioned that the reader becomes an active participant--that sounds fantastic!

    Great review! Oh, and I love the book Wicked, and I want to see Wicked so bad, but haven't been able to yet! One of these days! :D

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  7. um LOVE this way you did this review!! So perfect for the book and infinite thanks for sharing your copy with me. I would love to get some ice cream. <3

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  8. Sounds different and fun.

    I just started to follow you from the list at RCCleanup we joined. If you'd like to check out my blog the url is http://emaginette.wordpress.com/

    :-)

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  9. Can I just say that I really love coming to your blog even more than I did before? We had SO much fun coming up with the design! I actually miss talking about it with you! Hehe.

    Anyway, I love your review style here! You've made me very curious about this book. The storyline scares me a little, but since both you AND Estelle loved it, I might have to set aside my fears. :)

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

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  10. HAHA, I love this!! Initially, I wasn't really interested in this book - and honestly, I'm still not entirely sure that I am. I just don't know how I can hang with reading a script. I don't flow well with script! I'm not a theater person. I can watch them, but I have a hard time reading them. But I love the way You is left open to interpretation and I wonder how *I* would interpret the character.

    Love this review Alexa!! So fun!

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  11. This is such a great review! I've been looking forward to reading this book, and your review makes me want to read it even more! It's so cool that You's gender is never specified. And I like how you mentioned that the reader becomes an active participant--that sounds fantastic!

    Great review! Oh, and I love the book Wicked, and I want to see Wicked so bad, but haven't been able to yet! One of these days! :D
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  12. This is such a great review! I've been looking forward to reading this book, and your review makes me want to read it even more! It's so cool that You's gender is never specified. And I like how you mentioned that the reader becomes an active participant--that sounds fantastic!
    Great review! Oh, and I love the book Wicked, and I want to see Wicked so bad, but haven't been able to yet! One of these days! :D
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    ReplyDelete

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