I recently picked up a book from the library – The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Liz B over at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy reviewed it a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest. I guess I kind of forgot what Liz B had said in her review, because I was totally expecting a paranormal story. I just reread the review and though she doesn’t come out and say it’s not paranormal, she does say there are no ghosts or vampires (so of course that means it’s about witches and vampires, right??). To be honest, I was about halfway through the book and I was still waiting for the main character, Connelly, to be all SURPRISE MY MOM IS A WITCH YO!
It finally dawned on me that, no, there is nothing supernatural in this book. I think it took so long for me to figure this out because Connelly kept describing how she thought of her school in fairy tale terms, like how Jeremy Cole was the crown prince, the popular people were the royalty, the others were just the townspeople hoping to be given an audience with the royals (i.e. hoping to sit with the popular kids at lunch). Also Connelly would talk about her imagined fairy godmother who would walk home from school with her and help her to fall asleep. That and she tended to think of herself as Rapunzel – not a princess, but still a fairy tale character.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, especially since I found out that Jen likes to go blindly into books. So I won’t tell you how Connelly and Jeremy become friends or even why. I will tell you however, that this book is beautiful in a very quiet way. In rereading Liz B’s review, she says that this book is in the best way quiet. And honestly as soon as I finished this book, the first thing that I thought was that this book was so quietly beautiful. It sounds like a weird way to describe a book, but truthfully I think it’s the best way. I only wish I could have gone into this book blindly so that I could have appreciated it sooner. If I hadn’t been waiting for a witch or something to pop out at me I think I would have liked the book even more. I blame myself for that one.
As for the characters – I wish I could insert myself into the book so that I could be Connelly’s friend. She really reminds me of my high school friend Jessica – friendly, quiet, not exactly outgoing, but game for anything. The kind of person that makes an awesome friend. Plus we totally could have hung out together while we read books and sat around wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate. Connelly never actually does this in the book, but you just know she totally does it off the page.
Jeremy seemed like a nice guy, but at the same time I feel like he’d be really hard to befriend. He’s kind of like Connelly in that he’s friendly to everyone, but he’s more outgoing. That’s why Connelly sees him as the prince. Everyone likes him not just because his family is one of the most affluent in NYC, but because he’s genuinely nice to everyone. Not that that means he’s friends with everyone – he’s very selective of his friends. I get the feeling that he chooses his friends with a purpose (or maybe that’s because we only see his friendship with Connelly). I get the sense that he’s actually only real friends with Connelly and his little sister, Kate.
Speaking of Kate, she’s not in this book too much. Sometimes I felt like some of the interaction between Kate and Connelly seemed a bit forced, but I feel weird saying that because Kate wasn’t your regular 12 year old little sister. And even though I felt some of the dialogue sounded weird, I still really loved Kate. I wish there had been more Kate in the book.
To close out this review, I am going to take a stab at a casting call like the gals over at FYA (the best YA site EVER).
Connelly: When I was describing Connelly I said that she reminded me of my high school friend, Jessica. That made me think of a House episode a few years ago where a girl was overweight even though she exercised all the time and took diet pills and it turned out it was like a tumor or something. Anyways, that girl’s name was Jessica and in my head I went, hey that’s kind of what Connelly looks like in my head. So I googled House and Jessica and it turns out that it was Jennifer Stone! I love Jennifer Stone in Wizards of Waverly Place! I didn’t love her in that horrible Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars movie, but that wasn’t her fault! Did you hear me Jennifer?! In my head there is no Blog Wars movie, I won’t hold it against you. It wasn’t your fault the movie was so terrible! As I was saying, I love Jennifer Stone as Harper on WoWP. She’s so crazy and funny, but I think she could be a really good Connelly too. Jennifer’s a terrific actress.
Jeremy Cole: Ok, I totally know that William Moseley is British and maybe a bit too old to play a 16/17 year old. But when I try to picture this gentlemanly and princely teenager who is cute and awesome, I picture Peter Pevensie. So there you get William Moseley. I would replace this picture with another one because now that I’ve got it up his face looks a little strange, but I like his expression. It says “You totally want to be my friend because I’m awesome and even though I just said I was awesome I’m still humble” or something like that.
Have you read The Beautiful Between? What are your thoughts?