cover image Between You & Me

Between You & Me

Marisa Calin. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59990-758-1

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.)