Author: Marisa Calin
Genre: YA, Contemporary
See it at Goodreads
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. Characters come to life through the innovative screenplay format of this dazzling debut, and unanswered questions—is "you" male or female?—will have readers talking.
Between You & Me is different. One of the main characters don’t have a name, or recognized in a gender. It’s for the reader to decide. The style is written in a screenplay format. And for this, I craved reading the story because I adore these type of stories. Hello? I’m a Shakespeare fanatic. If someone can pull off a great story in a screenplay format, I love them that much more for it. I like quirky and unusual formats. Stories with hidden messages underneath. Stories that are told only through character development and dialogue.
You: You’re a nerd.
Me: I know. Thank you.
You: Just get to your point already with your review.
Me: Geesh. Rush much?
So, in Between You & Me, we have two main characters. Phyre and “You”. Phyre loves the theatre and acting. The setting is a new year in high school and there’s a new theatre teacher. That’s when things begin to go a little downhill for me as the reader, I think. When Phyre meets Mia, the theatre teacher. Yes, I understand there are teacher crushes. I love the author for creating this story because it not only develops into a story of understanding, but a young woman learning more about herself. Phyre is shocked at first because she’s never crushed on a female before, and I like that as she’s realizing this, she just accepts herself.
What I don’t like is the weird insta-obsession. As soon as Phyre realizes the crush, it’s not ‘insta-love’ like we often see (which for this story, I think I would have actually been fine with more insta-love for the crush oddly enough), but pure obsession. She’s following Mia around, assuming Mia is doing the same, assuming all kinds of things, and honestly, it’s just a bit creepy. Perhaps this is the entire screenplay’s intent, but it turned me a bit off at times to see such a strange obsession. I wanted to see more development with “You” because I know something was going on there quite often, and there were a lot of times when I felt “You” just were put in the backseat to Phyre and Mia in the plot most of the time. Then things happened, and things started picking up toward the end. It was scandalous, and “You” held their ground for Phyre like a great friend should. I loved that. I equally loved that Phyre did appreciate it, too, and didn’t put “You” on the backburner again. She saw how much of a friend they really were. It does have quite the satisfying ending with Phyre finally learning more about herself with a nice growth and development to “You” that doesn’t feel forced at all.
I was all over the place with Between You & Me. It was a crazy ride. While I thought it did a lot of major parts extremely well, there were some small nitpicks that I just didn’t find so appealing (like the obsession thing I mentioned above). But I’d still certainly recommend this to a wide audience, especially book groups for discussions because it paints a powerful message with some strong points to talk about among others.