The Beautiful Between

The Beautiful Between

by Alyssa Sheinmel

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Overview

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. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375896200
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,099,503
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Alyssa B. Sheinmel was born in Stanford, California. She is a graduate of New York City's Spence School and Barnard College. Alyssa lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing. The Beautiful Between is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

If you thought of high school as a kingdom--and I don't mean the regular kind of kingdom we have today, like England or Monaco, I mean those small ones in fairy tales that probably weren't kingdoms at all so much as they were nobledoms where the nobles considered themselves kings and granted themselves the right of prima nochte, that kind of thing--if you thought of my high school like one of those, then Jeremy Cole would be the crown prince. The crown prince who could choose from all the women in his father's domain--and not only choose them but also have them parade in front of him at, say, a dance, trying to catch his eye, hoping to be chosen.  

I don't know where I'd fall in the fairy-tale-kingdom hierarchy. I'm hardly Cinderella. I'm not beautiful and I'm not poor, and we have a cleaning lady who comes once a week, so I'm not stuck with the housework. Not Snow White either--the dwarfs always struck me as stranger than they were endearing, and wild animals don't look so much cute and cuddly to me as rabid and flea-ridden. Sleeping Beauty--not a chance. I'd be happy if I could just sleep through the night, let alone one hundred years. But I guess I could be Rapunzel; I do have long hair and I'm locked not so much in a tower by a wicked queen as in an Upper East Side apartment building by the SATs and college applications. Which are wicked enough for a hundred wicked queens and then some. Just my luck: Rapunzel, who wasn't a princess at all; Rapunzel, who--in at least some of the versions of the story--didn't have a happy ending.   

It's pretty easy, sitting in the cafeteria, to imagine I'm in a fairytale kingdom, to transform the girls one by one from trendy students into stately-attired ladies. Just take the prettiest girl in the room, the most popular, whose clothes hang on her so lightly that you know she could pull off a gown as easily as she can those tight jeans with that black tank top. Give the boys swords hanging from their belts, and turn their baseball caps into crowns. I guess high school cafeterias are kind of like a royal court: your chance to show off the latest fashions, to make an entrance, and, if you're lucky, to be invited to have an audience before the royals--you know, sitting at the cool table.  

I never sit at the cool table. I'm not at the nerds' table either, though I admit to having had a few dangerous weeks there in middle school when I was caught talking to myself in the stairwell. Now I know better, and keep my little reveries to myself.  

Sometimes I grab a bagel and run off to the library to work on my SAT words, but mostly I just sit at the table right smack in the middle of the room, the biggest table, the one where almost anyone could sit and fit in just fine. So it's not that Jeremy's choosing me was a total shock because I was a dork. I mean, I am a dork, in my own "Hey, have you read this amazing novel?" kind of way--but not in any of the ways that get you kicked out of the kingdom. I speak up in class, but not too much; I come to school with my skirt too short and a black coffee in hand (even though I add so much sugar that you can barely taste the coffee); I even sneak out of the building between classes from time to time and stand on the corner with the smokers, bitching about the latest history substitute. The popular girls tolerate me just fine; the cool boys never take note.  

So here I am, sitting at the central table in high court, staring at Alexis Bryant, who is sitting across from me and picking at a plate of limp lettuce. Alexis and I used to have playdates when we were younger, and the snacks at her house were always organic and whole-grain, while at my house, it was all Wonder bread and Coca-Cola. I wonder whether anyone else notices that Alexis is anorexic. Anorexia is so 1990s. In the twenty-first century, you only noticed when girls got skinny because they were doing a lot of blow. Even when celebrities got checked into clinics for eating disorders, rumors always flew that it was just a cover-up for their drug problems.  

Emily Winters sits down next to me, her bangle bracelets clicking against themselves. She has to take them off when we're in class because they're so loud, but she always wears them in between classes, before and after school, and at lunch.  

"Did you hear who Jeremy Cole is dating?"  

Like anyone else would when Jeremy's name is mentioned, I snap to attention. "No, who?"  

"Well, this is just a rumor, but I swear to God, I heard he hooked up with Beverly Edwards last weekend."  

"No!"  

"Yes!"  

"But she's so . . . She's not smart. Once she asked Ms. Jewett whether To Kill a Mockingbird was a hunting book."  

"She must have been joking."  

"She wasn't."  

"He can't be dating her."  

"Maybe he just hooked up with her."  

A new voice enters the conversation, a man's voice all high-pitched and pretending to be girly: "We should take him out back and beat the crap out of him."  

Emily and I look up--Jeremy is sitting on the other side of me. If my face is anything like Emily's, I'm blushing wildly. Emily pretends to be done eating and leaves me. Alone. With Jeremy Cole. I'm sure that everyone's watching; this table is right across from the food line, right smack in the center. Everyone can see.

Customer Reviews

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Beautiful Between 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Euphoria13 More than 1 year ago
Connelly Sternin is working hard on keeping her grades up and studying for the SAT's. It's her Junior year and things are going well in her academics until she becomes lost and frustrated within her Physics Class. If she doesn't do something about it one low grade can throw her chances of going to the School of her choice out the window. The reader learns of Connelly's concept of her school. A royal kingdom filled with Princesses, dukes, and Nobles. But only one person is the Prince- Jeremy Cole, the handsome, popular, and son of a great and rich family. Connelly is "The Rapunzel" of the story, not locked away by a wicked witch in her apartment but by books and vocabulary, not to mention her own secrets and fantasies of a different life. Then one day out of the blue during lunch, Jeremy arrives at Connelly's table and offer's to tutor her in Physics in exchange that she helps him with his SAT words. What seems to be just an ordinary study session is just the beginning of a beautiful bond and friendship in which Connely learns that behind the popular, outgoing, and glamorous Prince, lies a secret that only she knows and the more she learns about it, the more it involves her and her own secrets. Every study session Connelly and Jeremy become closer, through homework and secrets. Sometimes the truth can hurt and be quite haunting, but without it the darkness can drive you mad. Through the lesson of trust and friendship, the bond between is simply Beautiful. When taking a fairy tale concept and turning it into a contemporary story, it can have one of two results- a bad take on a story in which the modern twist clashes horribly with that of the fairytale or a well written story where the author does not rely on the fairy tale to tell his or her story and the plot is well written to give the reader a sense of "surprise" while reading the story In The Beautiful Between, Alyssa B. Sheinmel does not disappoint the reader with her take on a modern story while using the fairytale of Rapunzel as her "guide". When you read the synopsis, i'm sure most people would automatically assume that this story is just a remake of Rapunzel ( I have seen other reviews in which people have stated this and believe me, they were in for a surprise) But please be aware that this story does not do that. I believe that it's a really refreshing approach in writing stories based off a fairytale- instead of changing the character's names or a few bits of plot here and there, why not make the story YOUR OWN? You create a plot entirely different but use the actual story as more of a foundation to help you develop and entwine both concepts- This is exactly what the author does in this book and she created a very touching story.
Kayla Milliner More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Couldn't put it down. The best love story I've ever read, but not the "girl meets boy" love. A new kind of love, whether it's new friends or family, this book is amazing. Love in a new sense will have you head over heels!
NYwriter More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely my favorite of 2010! Connolly Sternin is a high schooler at a private school in NYC, and she's a little bit of an outsider among her cool and fabulous classmates ... that is until she strikes up a friendship with Jeremy Cole, the "crowned prince" of the school. But it's not a typical YA romance, which is what makes this book so special. Sheinmel's prose are absolutely breathtaking, and despite the heartbreak Connolly and Jeremy have to face, there is such hope in the story. I can't wait for THE LUCKY KIND to come out in May --that's Alyssa B. Sheinmel's next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a couple of months ago as an advanced copy. It was not at all what I expected, but I loved every page of it. I strongly recommend this book and look forward to future books from this author!
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Connelly Sternin and Jeremy Cole have little in common. For one thing, Jeremy is at the top of the popularity chain, while Connelly keeps more to herself. Their lives don¿t cross¿but when they do start talking, they strike up a friendship that Connelly can make neither heads nor tails of. Can his newfound attention towards her have something to do with Connelly¿s father, who died when she was very young and whose death is still a mystery to her? What secrets are Jeremy hiding from her?I have to give credit where credit is due: I¿m absolutely flabbergasted with how whoever wrote the synopsis of this book managed to twist it in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with the real story whatsoever. Seriously, that sort of twisting is an incredible accomplishment, a fabulous marketing ploy. For THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN is nothing close to what it sounds like it would be about, and it¿s left me disappointed and even frustrated.Most unforgivably, the characters and their interactions with one another felt extremely artificial. I get the feeling that the author tried to present Connelly as the quiet and reserved teen bookworm who has more to her than her classmates realize, but the fact of the matter is that she never grows into the reader¿s mind beyond a sullen and passive girl whose fairy tale extended metaphors get tiring and trite within the first 30 pages. She only waits, waits, waits throughout the whole book for Jeremy to show up when he needs her, and even then he never treats her as a good friend, but more like a sounding board for his cryptically ¿thought-provoking¿ musings. Jeremy, who¿s supposedly this popular and nice guy but whose behavior towards Connelly only make him seem like a tool, using her to get the empathy he thinks she can give him.Indeed, neither Connelly nor Jeremy (nor, actually, any of the other characters) feel like they¿ve been fully realized: there¿s something about their motivations, actions, and words that never quite line up. They are like cardboard figures acting the part of emotionally distraught, history-laden high school classmates in different social strata drawn together by mutual experiences and emotions. As a result, we can only read about them as if they¿re 500 miles away on the other side of a bulletproof, shatterproof foot-thick glass wall.It is furthermore unclear as to what this book¿s main purpose or point is. The book jacket synopsis makes it sound like it will be about the healing powers of a blossoming relationship between Jeremy and Connelly. Instead, the plot waffles between Connelly¿s long-suppressed desire to find out what happened to her father, and Jeremy¿s ¿secret,¿ which, when finally revealed, is built up so insufficiently and artificially that I was more disappointed than sympathetic (a sad thing indeed, as the secret is actually quite sad). The ending wraps things up fairly neatly¿which is a mixed blessing: it ties things up before we are ever connected with the story, but, at less than 200 pages, we are already ready for the blandness to be over.I¿m going to stop here before I get really pissed off, because this is pretty much like the realistic fiction version of the passive-heroine/wish-fulfillment-male¿s-attention trope that too often pervades paranormal romance (only this one supposedly has a family emotion twist that makes it more ¿valid¿). I¿m pretty angry when I think about how undeveloped characters can masquerade as deep people if you just throw the right unconventional heartwrenching problems in. A book has to be more than the sum of its parts, and even though this one might have the right parts¿an introverted bookworm protagonist (so, y¿know, we can relate to her), a heartthrob nice guy (so, y¿know, we can like him, and like him with her), and a deep familial problem (so, y¿know, we can sympathize with the characters¿ troubles)¿it doesn¿t ever come together.
MarthaL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Connelly has told her friends that her parents were divorced. Although she knew her father died when she was dead she never knew the details until her boyfriends encourages her to ask her mother for them after they all attend his younger sister's funeral. A fast paced books that explores helps teen understand what people go through when there are fatal illnesses in a family.
hrose2931 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"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."The summary above comes from Goodreads.Jeremy, royalty of New York and the school Connelly attends, befriends Connelly under the pretense of helping her with her physics if she'll help his with his SAT vocabulary. She is more than shocked but readily agrees. He sits with her regularly as they watch the girl that sits across from them cut lettuce slices into squares and eat them. They don't talk while they watch her slowly dwindle away with anorexia until she's checked into a hospital for her disease.Then, they start to study together. They are only friends but they bond over studying and a surprising secret. Connelly likes Kate, Jeremy's sister as much as she likes Jeremy. Kate is in 7th grade but hangs out with the 11th graders, she's that likeable and charming. She makes Connelly feel like she belongs with Jeremy as friends maybe more, but at least that they are alike.Then, as tragedy strikes in Jeremy's family, he begins to call Connelly at odd hours to meet him. And, she becomes part of the royalty, invited to parties thrown by people she'd never thought would have invited her much less known her name.Things come to a climax when Jeremy's tragedy peaks and he begs Connelly to get the answers she needs about her father's death.The story is told from Connelly's point of view and it's easy to warm up to her. On the other hand, I found it hard to figure Jeremy out. He was erratic and cryptic and only made sense at the very end of the novel for one betrayal. I'm hoping there will be a follow up, but I don't see how there can be with the closure Jeremy and Connelly got. I just felt like so much was left up in the air between them.Despite all that, I enjoyed the book and couldn't put it down. It was a very quick read and I will definitely read another novel from this author.It dealt with a delicate subject in a neutral way letting the reader fill in the blanks and didn't dwell on the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Connelly Sternin is good at pretending. She's especially good at imagining things and, sometimes, at making things up. It's easy when she has spent most of her life convincing everyone at her school that her parents are divorced when really he died and Connelly has no idea how. But it's okay. Sometimes Connelly thinks of herself as a kind of Rapunzel--a princess trapped in a tower watching life through a window. Maybe she's being punished, living in the tower. Or maybe it's protection from a secret too painful to talk about. Pretending is easier than actually being involved anyway. It's easier to watch Jeremy Cole walk through life like some kind of crown prince instead of talking to him. It's easy to marvel at his little sister Kate and how perfect everything is for her and her brother. Except maybe things aren't so easy. For either of them. As Connelly starts an unexpected friendship with Jeremy she learns that appearances can be deceiving and perfect doesn't always last forever. As she learns more about her own past and Jeremy's uncertain future, Connelly realizes that the truth might be harsher than pretending--but it's also the only thing that can help her move on in The Beautiful Between (2010) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. The Beautiful Between is Sheinmel's first novel. The Beautiful Between is an interesting book because parts of it were really engaging. And some parts were not. The main problem is that the book is poorly summarized on the jacket. The plot there has next to nothing to do with the real plot. I tried to be more accurate in my summary here, but this one is hard to pin down partly because it is so subtle. Sheinmel's writing has moments of brilliance interspersed with a plot that is sometimes predictable and often simply too short (the whole book is 182 pages). In some ways the story finishes where I wish it could have began because I wanted to hear more about Connelly, Jeremy, and what the future had in store for them. Other aspects of the novel felt strange. The smoking motif felt incongruous in a book written in 2011 although I did know kids who smoked in high school--probably everyone does. I didn't love that Connelly smoked just to be close to the boy. Similarly the extended fairy tale metaphor was interesting--it was one of the main reasons I picked up the novel honestly--but it didn't really make sense with the plot. It worked but it didn't need to be there. Ultimately The Beautiful Between is a story about friendship, loss and how to survive both. It is complex and subtle even if some elements didn't work perfectly. I look forward to picking up Sheinmel's next novel to see how she has grown as a writer because, really, a lot of this book is very promising. Possible Pairings: The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd, The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it so much can read it day or night very comforting as well
MVM95 More than 1 year ago
I did not like how it ended. But ovetall it was good.
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Lia Bonfietti More than 1 year ago
i hope to read this book it looks good like a real life fairy tale! lol
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?.. is it romance??