Feel up for spending a few hours in somebody else’s life? Read Alyssa Sheinmel’s The Beautiful Between. If you like small moments strung together as contemporary YA fiction, you’ll appreciate this one.
Connelly is a straight-laced student at a ritzy Manhattan High School. She gets a shock when Jeremy, most popular boy in school, sits beside her at lunch and offers to tutor her in exchange for help with his vocab for the SATS. Her excitement to spend time with him, even if it is to do homework, is punctured only when he mentions her father.
Since enrolling in the school, Connelly had lied and told everyone her parents were divorced and father lived in another state. The lie took hold and she never corrected it. So it comes as another shock when Jeremy not only knows her dad is dead, but he knows how it happened, which is way more than Connelly knows.
Why these two come together and how they help one another through tragedy are the questions that keep you reading. Connelly has no secret powers or incomparable beauty. She’s a normal teenage girl who feels like she hasn’t experienced the lively side of high school – parties and lots of friends – until Jeremy comes along. The friendship is just what they both needed.
Events unfold in a predictable, but naturalistic way. You feel the painful moments as much as the sweet ones. The story is mercifully brief, and worth reading when you need a break from supernatural turbo romances.