The Pages Between Us: In The Spotlight is the second novel by writing team Lindsay Leavitt and Robin Mellom about two best friends maneuvering through middle school. Piper and Olivia have been Best Friends for forever, but after getting different schedules at the start of middle school, they decided to start a shared journal to stay close. Now, a semester into school, they’ve got this letter-sharing journal down. The plan is to “drop off the notebook in our lockers and exchange it in the hallway between classes. Let’s document every step of the way for fun…These are our secrets. Our precious thoughts. Our ‘only my best friend will understand’ letters” (1).
Their new notebook is beginning just as the district’s Battle of the Books is starting. This is a competition that has a team of students from each school compete in a trivia contest about ten grade level books. This is Olivia’s favorite time of year! She’s an avid reader and getting to hang out with other readers and talk about books is a dream come true. That’s not the case for Piper, though, who’s more into directing videos and only a passable student at best.
When only three people show up to join the Battle of the Books, Piper uses her video making skills to make a promotional video for it. Piper’s got a lot of ideas, which scares Olivia, a self proclaimed “Worry Wort,” especially when Piper asks Olivia to be the star (3). “What if they laugh? Whisper? Make fun of me?” (104).
Olivia doesn’t have to worry about it, though, because the video goes viral. Soon there are dozens of people joining the Battle of the Books. The only problem is that they’re not taking it seriously enough for Olivia. Mostly, all her classmates want are free doughnuts and the chance to be in one of Piper’s videos. Olivia is enraged. “THIS IS NOT CALLED ‘FUN OF THE BOOKS’” (254).
As Piper’s video collects even more views, the girls struggle with school, fame, and boys. Leavitt and Mellom write the two narrators as distinctly separate characters, but make their relationship very relatable. As two pre-teen girls surrounded by social media and technology, their letters offer a refreshing take on young friendship all about support and humor. In the Spotlight also does a wonderful job of promoting reading. Olivia’s passion for books is contagious and even Piper, an avoider of reading, ends up picking up a book. In a story about friendship and finding your passion, Leavitt and Mellom show that sometimes, girls just need to have fun.
- Posted by Abriana