If Addie Swartz has her way, girls will be able to be, well, girls, a little longer. The mother of two "tweenagers," ages nine and 12, Swartz is bringing the same determination and drive that helped her create BrightIdeas, a children's software company that sold its product at home Tupperware-style parties, to B*tween Productions Inc. B*tween is a new company producing books and merchandise under the Beacon Street Girls brand for girls too old for American Girls and too young for Seventeen.

B*tween Productions is headquartered in Lexington, Mass., but its inspiration for the book line comes from another Boston suburb, Brookline. The Beacon Street Girls, five middle schoolers whose adventures are chronicled in a series of paperbacks, shop at the Book Nook, modeled after the Brookline Booksmith; attend a school much like the one three blocks from the store; and also frequent another Beacon Street emporium, Irving's Toy and Card Shop.

The Beacon Street Girls line includes the paperback series with a suggested retail price of $7.99; 36-page minibooks of backstories about the characters, packaged with a piece of jewelry for $10; and shoulder bags, sleepover bags and other items.

B*tween Productions launched its line of books and products in the spring. The first two books in the series, Worst Enemies, Best Friends and Bad News, Good News, sold out their initial printings of 5,000 copies and have gone back to press for 10,000 more apiece. Currently the line is available in book, toy and gift stores in nine states, and online at www.beaconstreetgirls.com. "The company is committed to a steady, long-term brand build," Swartz said. "We're trying to build a buzz through parents who are looking for something better."

Dana Brigham, co-owner of Brookline Booksmith and Wellesley Booksmith, describes herself as "a booster of the mission" and said that the books are selling well at both locations. "They seem to have hit a nerve. We've reordered the books several times," she said.

Beacon Street Girls signed with Midpoint Trade Books to represent its books to the trade. President Eric Kampmann told PW, "I'm encouraged. They're very professional, and they put a great team together." Book number three, Letters from the Heart, was released in early August, and three more will be published by spring 2005. There are currently six minibooks in print.