Release Date: August 7th, 2012
Pages: 242 pages
My Format: hardcover
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
Now, I personally found it easy and pleasant to slip into the writing style of this book which is set up in the format of a screenplay. I do realize that perhaps some modern young readers out there might not like this, and I feel as if the older crowd might roll their eyes and find it pretentious or contrived, but I didn't. I actually went into this book expecting it all to be a bit hipstery and 500 days of summerish, but it's not at all. I really like the way Marisa Calin writes and am excited to read more from her. She's got what I like to call the "magic touch" when it comes to effortlessly capturing the voice of young people. I found Phyre's inner monolgue to be consistently honest, brash, and at times cringe-worthy, which in my opinion means the author is doing a good job. I thought Phyre's thoughts were very realistic, especially when trying to come to terms with the fact that she has a crush on another female, something that's never happened to her before. There was one scene in particular that stuck out to me, in which Phyre proclaims to herself that it's not a big deal at all, only to moments later realize she's suddenly "different" than the rest of her peers, and wish her feelings would just go away. There were many little moments like that, where I just really felt what Phyre was feeling, because I'd felt it all myself in my own life, and I think Calin has hit the nail on the head for what's going through the mind of a high school girl going through this sort of situation. There were tons of things I really admired about the writing. It had some really great metaphors strewn through, the play-within-a-play device, the artistic choice to leave out the gender of Phyre's best friend, I could go on. Marisa Calin knows what's up.
Now, despite the fact that the writing and characters were beautifully crafted, the story itself was a little lacking for me. Just a little! It was all very predictable and maybe that's partially the fault of the summary giving so much away? But as I was reading I kept waiting for something really big to happen. I imagined perhaps Phyre getting drunk and publicly declaring her feelings or her best friend doing something like this or maybe even for Phyre and her teacher to kiss in some awkward, accidentally-on-purpose way - NOT that I wanted them to be together- I just wanted shit to hit the fan in some way because the book was building up on such a dramatic tone and then it was just sort of like, nothing really happened? Granted there was quite an embarrassing revelation of Phyre's affections, but I guess I was just expecting something a bit more intense. But, in a way, it's a nice direction to go in. Like hey, it happened, and it wasn't the end of the world!
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I could relate to it immensely on a personal level and I'm sure many other young people will also be able to. Throughout the first half of the book I was debating on whether or not to give 5 stars simply because of how lovely the writing was, but once I finished it out I was a little disappointed with the lack of a really good climax. Even so, it was still a good story. I definitely recommend!
You can also check this out on my goodreads