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The Beautiful Between Hardcover – May 11, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375861823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375861826
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9–11—Connelly Sternin, 16, moves through her New York City high school on cruise control. She is an average student who doesn't get into trouble, doesn't sit with the cool kids, and has a quiet home life. She fantasizes that she is living in a fairy tale and sees herself as Rapunzel, confined in an Upper East Side tower amid college applications and SAT scores. She sees wealthy Jeremy Cole as the prince of their school: loved and respected by all. What she doesn't see coming is a friendship with him based on tragedy—his younger sister has leukemia—and secrets—Connelly is preoccupied with learning how her father died. Jeremy knows more about her life than she does, and together they find the fortitude to face the present and the past. Although the narrative concerns death and lies, this first novel is not dark, but instead full of small moments and quiet realism. Connelly and Jeremy's friendship, which may turn into romance, is realistically portrayed as deepening over time. The story's pace is steady. Although the buildup to the climax—Connelly confronts her mother about her father—is better paced, and more creative and satisfying than the conflict itself, overall this is a terrific alternative to the clique-y high school novels that are all sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"Endearing, realistic and heart-wrenching, Sheinmel offers a thoughtful look at teens." —The New York Post

"Sheinmel makes an impressive debut with an absorbing tale of unlikely friendship, loss, and family secrets." - Publishers Weekly

"Satisfying and believable"- Kirkus Reviews

Full of small moments and quiet realism. - School Library Journal

More About the Author

I was born in Stanford, California, and even though I moved across the country to New York when I was six years old, I still think of myself as a California girl.

When I was little, I pretended that I didn't like to read, because my sister loved to read, and I wanted to be different. (I also pretended that I didn't like pizza, because it was her favorite food, I still get sad when I think of all the delicious pizza dinners I missed out on.) By the time I was eight, it was too hard to pretend I didn't like to read, because the truth was that reading was my favorite thing in the world. I loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored.

When I was eleven years old, I began going to a school in Manhattan called Spence. The teachers there were very supportive of my reading and writing. One teacher there encouraged me to read F. Scott Fitzgerald, and another introduced me to magical realism, and another tried to convince me that there was more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing. (She was right, of course.) And still another let me write a sequel to one of my favorite novels and call it a school project, even though I would have done in my spare time just for the fun of it.

After Spence, I went across town to Barnard College. Once again, I had some of the best teachers in the world encouraging me to write, and introducing me to new authors. One of my very favorite teachers told me to read Joan Didion (and I didn't thank him enough for that), and my other favorite insisted that there was nothing more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing (and I argued with her a lot about that).

After college, I got a job working in an office where I wore high heels and blazers and even the occasional stiff-collared blouse. I thought I would write on the side, but after a while, I stopped writing altogether - for over a year, I didn't write a word except in my journal, a very strange thing for a girl who wrote stories from pretty much the time that she learned how to hold a pen.

But then, when I was 24, I began working at a new job, and the people there introduced me to great new writers, just like the teachers I'd had in school. I began to miss writing. It was boring when I wasn't making up stories to keep myself entertained. And so - slowly, just for the fun of it - I began writing again, and in a couple years I had written the story that would become The Beautiful Between.

I still don't write every day; sometimes I get caught up in other things, and sometimes I'd just rather park myself in front of the TV and watch reruns of The West Wing. But I always find my way back to my computer; I always remember just how much fun writing really is. And the great thing about writing - at least in my experience - is that it comes out best when you're doing it for the very, very fun of it.

Customer Reviews

Most unforgivably, the characters and their interactions with one another felt extremely artificial.
S. Su
The Beautiful Between is a wonderful story that is just so gorgeously crafted and written that it is difficult to believe it was Sheinmel's debut novel.
Rachael Stein
A fantastic read for a change of pace, I highly recommend The Beautiful Between as something to consider.
Laura R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Su on July 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 in 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A female sophomore named Connelly Sternin always thought she was Rapunzel, cooped up in her apartment studying nonstop. But one day a really popular guy named Jeremy Cole asks her if she needed help with physics. In return he needed help with SATs. She thinks Jeremy could be a prince from the fairy tales. She said yes. As every page is turned and read, Connelly tries to discover the cause of her father's death. Jeremy befriends Connelly because his sister and Connelly's father have something in common which will be revealed if you read to the end.

Alyssa Sheinmel has an appealing plot. Connelly tries to understand her life in terms of fairy tale worlds. Thankfully, there's no romance in this one. Jeremy and Connelly are best friends and that's all. Also the author's words are really enticing. Her writing style is simple and straight to the point.

One of her messages in this book is never give up on your life or else the other people around you will become sad and may feel other negative emotions such as hatred, revenge, etc. I think another message of the author is it's okay to be friends with a boy, because you may have a lot in common. It is not really that embarrassing to be friends with a boy.

I think the book is great because it has a story that can really move you. I almost cried but luckily I didn't cry in when the truth about Connelly's dad is revealed and when my favorite character diieeeessssss.
I would recommend this book to teenagers, who enjoy real life stories. It doesn't have any magical elements, but daily life routines, struggles and so on. Also it is recommended to those who like friendship and family themes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristen M. Harvey on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Why I read this: The reference to Rapunzel stuck out to me and it's a debut novel.

Plot: The usual fairy tale of a popular young man starting to pay attention to a girl who thinks herself not unusual - not worth the attention. Connelly knows there's a reason he has been driven to approach her about helping her with her homework. It's quite an interesting plot because of the way Connelly grew up - knowing nothing about her father's death. Her mother completely shuts off whenever it is brought up and Connelly would like to keep her mother happy. The connection between Connelly and Jeremy is wrought with pain and sorrow, but they make the best of it.

I think it followed the normal arc of two people finding themselves on common ground, neither of them sure if their intentions are completely innocent in the way of their friendship, but enjoying each other's company nonetheless. Definitely a great story.

Characters: Both Jeremy and Connelly are flawed and different. You could tell they were real people as you read the story. They both had their own intricate workings of how the world worked for them and the realizations that you go through during life of having those worlds change - for better or worse. It's nice to see inside of a head that is so different from your normal whiney teenage female character. She's philosophical and wondrous and the author does a fantastic job of reflecting how Connelly grew up on her psyche.

Relatability: There's this great feeling of disconnection from parents in the novel and I know you say "why is it great to be disconnected...". It's not, but it's what happens. Teenagers drift, find their own world, and start to sever that child to parent link that has so strongly held them in childhood.
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