The Spaces Between Us
The Spaces Between Us
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Annotation: Outcasts and best friends Serena Velasco and Melody Grimshaw strive together to survive senior year and break away from their rural factory town.
Catalog Number: #194118
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 293 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-250-17492-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-250-17492-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018039241
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Serena and her best friend, Grimshaw, are stuck in their rural New England town. Serena, smart and cocky, enjoys annoying teachers and family. Grimshaw is considered white trash, but her love of dancing gives her hope there's a way out. Through a very long senior year, the two friends change and don't change, but it is Grimshaw's decision to leave with an older guy, who has plans for her to "dance" in California, that sets in motion an irrevocable transition. One of the best parts of the story is its sense of place, which is writ large. Small, broken towns don't get a lot of attention in youth books, but Tolman digs deep, exploring the people who live there, their nightmares as well as their dreams. Serena, confused about her place, comes to know what privilege means at a very visceral level. There's a lot here that could have been left out, including many characters, some underdeveloped and some who change their stripes without any warning. But the relationship between the girls will keep readers' interest with its depth and intensity.
Kirkus Reviews
A brilliant, frustrated girl seeks connection and freedom beyond her claustrophobic hometown.Serena Velasco knows there's something rotten in the state of Colchis, the abandoned factory town that her uncle describes as "the burned-over cinder of the American Dream." She adopts her late father's communist philosophies and Red Army cap as shields to keep herself loftily separate from a community that has never welcomed or understood her—and that she does not wish to welcome or understand either. Her only friend is talented dancer Melody Grimshaw, a fellow social pariah who comes from the poorest family in town. When Serena's mother becomes the new principal, Serena and Melody think they can use that leverage to achieve the goals that will get them out of Colchis, but chasing their dreams proves more complicated, isolating, and dangerous than either girl predicted. As the scope of the narrative expands to old-money Maine, a California strip club, and a cross-country hitchhiking trip, the spaces between Serena and the people she loves threaten to grow irreparably wide. All major characters are white. Serena is a stunningly realistic and layered protagonist, brilliant but naïve and projecting a prickly disdain that covers deeper insecurities. Her story unfolds in remarkably sharp, vivid prose, and even the least sympathetic characters are rendered with thoughtful complexity.A girl-centered Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century. (Fiction. 14-adult)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A brilliant, frustrated girl seeks connection and freedom beyond her claustrophobic hometown.Serena Velasco knows there's something rotten in the state of Colchis, the abandoned factory town that her uncle describes as "the burned-over cinder of the American Dream." She adopts her late father's communist philosophies and Red Army cap as shields to keep herself loftily separate from a community that has never welcomed or understood her—and that she does not wish to welcome or understand either. Her only friend is talented dancer Melody Grimshaw, a fellow social pariah who comes from the poorest family in town. When Serena's mother becomes the new principal, Serena and Melody think they can use that leverage to achieve the goals that will get them out of Colchis, but chasing their dreams proves more complicated, isolating, and dangerous than either girl predicted. As the scope of the narrative expands to old-money Maine, a California strip club, and a cross-country hitchhiking trip, the spaces between Serena and the people she loves threaten to grow irreparably wide. All major characters are white. Serena is a stunningly realistic and layered protagonist, brilliant but naïve and projecting a prickly disdain that covers deeper insecurities. Her story unfolds in remarkably sharp, vivid prose, and even the least sympathetic characters are rendered with thoughtful complexity.A girl-centered Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century. (Fiction. 14-adult)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review
ALA Booklist (6/1/19)
Horn Book
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: HL750L

" A girl-centered Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century. "--Kirkus Reviews , starred review Two outcast best friends are desperate to survive senior year and break away from their dying factory town in Stacia Tolman's The Spaces Between Us , an unforgettable YA debut. Serena Velasco and her best (and only) friend, Melody Grimshaw, are dying to get out of Colchis. Until now they've both been coasting, keeping a safe distance from the bleakness of home and the banality of high school. To make things more interesting Serena fixates on communism, eager to get a rise out of their conservative small town. Her Western Civ teacher catches on and challenges her with an independent study of class and upward mobility--what creates the spaces between us. Meanwhile, Grimshaw takes on a mission of her own: to make it onto the cheerleading squad, find a job, and escape the weight of her family's hopeless reputation. But sometimes the biggest obstacles are the ones you don't see coming; Grimshaw's quest for success becomes a fight for survival, and Serena's independent study gets a little too real. With the future of their friendship and their lives on the line, the stakes have never been so high. Christy Ottaviano Books


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