between me & you, that could’ve been better

Title: Between Me & You
Author: Marisa Calin
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 242
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3/5
Picture Perfect: okay
Protagonist Pizzaz: eh
Va va va voice: choppy
Mph: 20

Phyre is immediately drawn to her new theater teacher, Mia, in this script-style novel.

Picture Perfect: Okay
This cover was alright, a bit cheesy. It only really made sense if you caught the one close-up scene at the beginning of the book, though.

Protagonist Pizzaz: eh
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Phyre. First of all, what kind of silly name is Phyre? I guess it’s not really her fault, but I couldn’t take her seriously because of it. I also found her kind of annoying, to be honest. I’m not really sure what it was, but something about her never really clicked with me. I wish she had delved deeper into her feelings for Mia, because to me it just seemed like an innocent girl-crush, not the big-deal emotion I think it was meant to be. When I read the premise of the book, I thought it was going to be more about Phyre coming to terms with being gay, but the whole thing was a lot more innocent than I thought it would be. I mean, I didn’t necessarily need there to be a whole torrid affair between Phyre and Mia, but just for SOMETHING to have happened between them that could have been eye-opening for Phyre, or something.

Va va va voice: Choppy
I’ve read a couple other books written like a script, the most notable being Walter Dean Myers’ Monster, but Between You & Me didn’t work very well for me in this format. I understood why it was written that way, of course, due to Phyre’s passion for theater, but it ended up feeling a little too choppy for me. I felt like it was kind of awkward to have a person say a line, then have Phyre go back into her own thoughts, then have someone say a line again, especially when the dialogue was just one person speaking, for example, all of the scenes in Mia’s class. Mia a would say something, Phyre would think about it, and Mia would say something again. The way the story was told didn’t make me feel like it needed to be written in script, and it would have been a smoother story in straight prose.

Mph: 20
This book moved so slowly. Because Calin jumped in right away with Phyre’s feelings for Mia, I think she ran out of juice for the rest of the story and just kept saying the same things over and over again. I kept expecting something dramatic to happen, either with “you” or Mia, but it never really did, until the end anyway.

Even the picture of Phyre & Mia posted online didn’t do much for me in terms of keeping the pace up. Not much happened because of it. Mia didn’t confess her undying love for Phyre, and she didn’t get into trouble with the school for it either. Phyre was upset about it, of course, but for some reason I just didn’t care.

I also thought Phyre’s sudden discovery of her feelings for “you” was a bit off. I mean, we know right away that they’re best friends, but there’s hardly any hint of love or whatnot, at least on Phyre’s side. I took the nice things “you” did for Phyre as friendship-things, not romantic things, so I wish that had been made less subtle. I also wish Phyre and “you” had had fights that were a bit more than they were. “You” always forgives Phyre, Phyre apologizes, and “you” forgives her. What if “you” hadn’t been so quick to forgive one of those times? Would Phyre have known about her feelings for “you” then?

On the note of the mysterious “you,” most of the time I thought “you” was a boy, at first anyways. Calin had Phyre say certain things about “you” that made me think the person could be either male or female, which I imagine was how she wanted it to be. There was a lot of evidence for both cases:

BOY:

At the beginning of the book, Phyre comments on how “you” has gotten good-looking. In my experience, people generally describe boys as good-looking but use other words for girls. There was also a scene near the middle where they danced together, and for some reason I pictured “you” as a boy.

GIRL: Admittedly, there’s much more evidence for this one. “You” is always hanging out with Phyre’s girl friends, and while some guys might do that, “you” didn’t hang out with any guys. Of course, Mia is a woman and Phyre is attracted to her, so maybe she’s gay, meaning “you” is a woman also. There’s also the scene in the library with Harmony, where they talk about Phyre thinking she’s gay, and Phyre assumes Harmony has noticed that she likes Mia, but it seems more likely to me that she noticed Phyre hanging out with “you” so much. “You” also tells Kate that he/she likes Phyre, and again, in my experience, guys don’t often reveal to girls who they like. In addition to that, “you” repeats something Phyre said about Mia, “Either I want to be you or I want to kiss you” or something like that, which again would imply “you” is female.

What do you (haha) think?

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