Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review: The Beautiful Between

Title: The Beautiful Between
Author:  Alyssa B. Sheinmel

From GoodReads, "If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it."

We received our very first ARC on Wednesday of last week, thanks to Alyssa B. Sheinmel!  I'm sure the staff at our building think we are nuts from all of the screaming and jumping around that was taking place. Of course I had to begin The Beautiful Between right away.  

Wow, what a terrific book!  I'm going to try my best not to give away too much information  because it is an amazing story that you just have to read for yourself.  First of all, I loved everything about the main character, Connelly Sternin, even her name.  Connelly is not a typical female character.  She is strong, but in her own way.  She is okay with being alone, until she realizes just how lonely she really is.  Her relationship with her mother is strained and unusual and made me want to find out more about why it is the it is.  While her friendship with Jeremy Cole, one of the popular boys,  begins in an uncommon way, it becomes painfully real that these two characters need each other. This book will make you laugh one minute and cry the next... as my mascara-stained pillow proves. I loved the depth of the characters, the flow of the story, the mystery surrounding Connelly's past, and everything in-between.  This is a wonderfully written, debut novel by an author that I'm looking forward to reading more from.

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