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A World Between

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  89 reviews
In 2004, college students Eleanor Suzuki and Leena Shah meet in an elevator. Both girls are on the brink of adulthood, each full of possibility and big ideas, and they fall into a whirlwind romance. Years later, Eleanor and Leena collide on the streets of San Francisco. Although grown and changed and each separately partnered, the two find themselves, once again, irresisti ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  380 ratings  ·  89 reviews


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Thomas
Oh my freaking goodness, this book felt like Normal People except with two queer women of color who both grow and change in meaningful, beautiful ways. A World Between has that same slice of life relatability mixed with dialogue that feels both everyday and addictive, made mesmerizing due to the strength of our two protagonists, Eleanor Suzuki and Leena Shah. In 2004, Eleanor and Leena meet in college, in an elevator, in an exchange that involves Leena studying for an exam and Eleanor entran ...more
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Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit I’m kind of blown away by this book. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a queer centred book like this before and I’m not sure any review I can write can fully do this book justice in explaining why you should read it. I went into this expecting another quick easy wlw romance and it’s safe to say that isn’t what I encountered. However, I was not disappointed by this at all.

This is a book full of diversity, centred on two queer Asian American women. Eleanor’s heritage is Japanese and Ge
...more
Lupita Reads
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best queer f/f romance I have read in a long time! Review from Instagram - #BOOKTHOUGHTS: Whew. 2020 needs this book & so did I! I started reading this book randomly after @feministpress sent it my way. I truly was not anticipating picking it up so soon & perhaps that added a touch of magic that made this book feel so special to me.

Eleanor is a women’s studies major in college when she runs into Leena, a pre-med student, she can’t take her eyes off, in an elevator. She tells her friends all abo
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Two women meet in an elevator and become friends - then lovers - then friends - then lovers - etc. It's a great capture of two people who are drawn to one another despite the external pressures (Leena comes from a traditional Indian family that expects her to marry a man and have babies once she gets her education "over with;" Eleanor comes from a family that is fairly accepting of her.) They are navigating the period from college into young adulthood.

This book doesn't come out in October so any
...more
Alwynne
DNF - Emily Hashimoto’s called this her ‘queer when harry met sally’ with the focus on a rollercoaster relationship between two women of colour in contemporary America, given an additional spin by Hashimoto’s exploration of ideas taken from Adrienne Rich,

“I was thinking about her essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” where she talks about the lesbian continuum and how women can exist on different parts of it during the course of their life, and that it’s about the intimacy between women. I wanted
...more
sonya
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
two queer woman of color? having a romance? and incredible character development? and they keep colliding through the years? this book had it all

this was complex and funny and hot (like very hot, so if you’re not into explicit sex scenes, i would skip this one) and had interesting discussions about sexuality, feminism, adulthood, jobs, your place in the world and many more. the chemistry between main characters was incredible. they were complexed and flawed and i loved them.

i would highly, high
...more
Nina
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wowowow. Feels like a gut punch straight from 2004 in this achingly beautiful story about identity, love, lust, interconnectedness, and grief. Captivating writing and plot. Still processing all the nuances of the relationships and how we define and explore our sexuality.
Allison
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, lgbtq
Ugh, so cute and necessary!! I need to discuss the ending with people!!
Sonya
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Be still my heart! I didn’t want this book to end!! I could have easily read another few hundred pages - about Leena and Eleanor, two women who meet in college and fall into a whirlwind romance in 2004. We follow them as they run into each other in San Francisco in 2010, and again (of course!) in 2017.

Eleanor and Leena felt so real to me, in all their complexities and contradictions. We first meet them in 2004 - Eleanor, who is half-Japanese and half-white, is majoring in women’s studies and dee
...more
Suzy
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book broke me!! 🥺💘😭 A fresh, decade-spanning Asian millennial story of queer life and love, and also a classic tale of will they/won’t they.

Eleanor and Leena fall for each other as college students in 2004, and from there, we find them colliding again and again over the next thirteen years. These characters are complicated and strong-willed. When they meet, Eleanor is bold and judgmental. Leena is quiet and driven, but holds so many secrets to protect her family.

There were many things I dee
...more
Linda Stack-Nelson
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
The world is sadly devoid of wlw fiction for and about the complications of being adults in love. This book, which sometimes made me tear up and sometimes made me squawk-laugh, is a welcome installment in that regard. That being said, the pacing felt exceptionally odd to me and I need someone to talk to about the ending ASAP. If you like a slow burn, the Vagina Monologues, and Marina Abramovic it might gel more with you than it did with me.
Sara Kaner
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This one took me a really long time to get into - mostly due to my life circumstances last week and not having adequate time to dedicate to reading. HOWEVER, once I got into it, I really enjoyed reading this love story unfold in a surprising and beautiful way. The characters both developed unexpectedly, and the ending wasn’t what I wanted but what I think was needed for the story. I’d recommend this to any folks looking for a quality queer romance read with great character development 💜
Shelby Lynne
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My heart feels so bruised this year. This book held it gently and reminded me that not everything is terrible.
whatsjennareading
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After seeing @lupita.reads and @readmollyread post about this book recently, I knew it was one I wanted to read immediately. A World Between is the f/f story I’ve been looking for. I saw myself and past iterations of my relationship in this book and its characters in a way I never have before. Told in 4 parts, over 13 years, in the alternating voices of Leena and Eleanor, the beginning of the story takes place on a college campus in 2004. I met my wife on a college campus in 2003, so this part o ...more
Linnae  Chau Schroeder
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars— super sweet n real romance novel centering 2 queer Asian-Am women as they come in and out of each other’s lives & explore their many identities and adulthood. i feel like there weren’t many huge driving events in the book, but that also made me appreciate a story where these characters can just BE. they got to be human, both with their own strengths and flaws. made me feel seen! <3
Catherine
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A World Between is a beautifully and vividly expressed queer love story. Emily Hashimoto draws characters that feel so real and so relatable that I felt like I knew them, deeply. I’ve seen this book described as the queer Asian millennial love story, but I don’t recommend it because I think it’s a definitive book for that demographic - I recommend it because I think it illustrates beautifully the way our stories and our loves belong to ourselves and that flatlining experience into any definitive ...more
Samantha
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
As everyone says, this is very much Normal People through a non-white, non-straight lens, which, on its own, makes it much better and more realistic than Normal People. Queer-centric and POC-centric messy romance that takes place over a decade of two millennials' lives and highlights the specific cultural and gendered struggles of marginalized relationships. And fwiw, I really appreciate this being a 400-page book, but that's just my own preference for larger novels. ...more
Emily
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this, I think; it struck me as deeply empathetic and honest. it reminded me of, like, the first time you watched a Queer Coming Of Age Movie in the 00s, if that makes sense. like, Imagine Me and You but softer and bleaker (and much less white), but also the FEELING of that first movie, like — watching the breathlessness and joy and pain of that depicted love, and wondering, sort of quizzically, is this for me? could this be for me?

I think the time jumps did a LOT of that emotional work
...more
Whitneycyn
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 — What I liked: very real, very honest story of two women as they weave in and out of each other’s lives over 13 years. I enjoyed the cultural references as the MCs are of Japanese/Jewish & Indian/Hindu backgrounds. There were definitely some situations and emotions that I related to and cringed at times because of that melodramatic familiarity that often comes with immaturity. But at the same time was comforted bc hello! I’m clearly not alone as evidenced by an author who has written about ...more
Reem
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Writing a review for this one because I don’t want my 3 star review (more like 3.5, but alas) to deter anyone from reading the novel who is intrigued by the synopsis. Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the writing style and found both of the main characters to be a little immature and given that the novel spans 13 years, I expected a bit more character development (yes, I know there is no expiration date on immaturity. Growth is not linear!!). This being said, it was still a good love story - one ...more
Ben Truong
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A World Between: A Novel is a commentary romance novel written by Emily Hashimoto. It is a sprawling look at the years-long relationship between two women.

In 2004 Boston, Eleanor Suzuki is a queer biracial Asian Jewish girl who is stirred by the writings of Audre Lorde, bumps into the beautiful Leena Shah, a beautiful and hyper-focused Indian girl, in the elevator of her college dorm. Within a month, their tentative make-out sessions evolve into ravenous sex, but by the end of the semester, Leen
...more
Jennifer
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I loved this story, from the saccharine but heartfelt and total encompassing emotion of two young women in love while in college to the mature adults the two protagonists become. Particularly, it does an admirable job of presenting the weird and sad and wonderful emotions and reactions that happen in response to coming out to family, as well as the ways that queer women can float between friendship and romance at different periods in their lives. At once heartening and heartbreaking, Hashimoto l ...more
Jen
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow. This broke my heart, and I loved it so much. This is a new favorite.
Adrienne Paquin
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved going on this journey with these women.
Becca Stickler
I initially picked up A World Between because Emily wrote in this Lit Hub piece that she once referred to it as a “lesbian When Harry Met Sally.” So right from the start, my hopes were very high.

The book centers on Eleanor Suzuki and Leena Shah, who first meet in college in 2004 and fall into a whirlwind romance. They ultimately part ways, only to bump into each other on the street in San Francisco six years later.

The novel unfolds over the course of 13 years, skipping chunks of time and switc
...more
S!
Apr 15, 2021 added it
technically dnf/didn't read the whole thing i skipped from 60% to the last 20-15% maybe. anyway i'm sorry if this is a terrible review, i'm rusty. brain goo. you know how it goes.

i get what this book is tryiiiiiiiing to do, genuinely i do. i can tell this is a story that's very personal and lived in for the author, there's a lot of details in it that i can appreciate so much even if i couldn't connect to them... but i just felt very far away from it all. the girls we follow are pretty young when
...more
Brinda Gurumoorthy
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I flew through this book and it was great! Hashimoto captures the relationship between two complicated people in a very effective and realistic way. I also loved the attention to detail (in terms of plot points but also cultural/historical things) as time progressed throughout the book.
Tashay
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Years after a whirlwind college romance, Eleanor and Leena cross paths again; Leena can't quite recall why their relationship was cut short but Eleanor remembers all too well. Though they're in different places in life, the two rekindle a friendship that gives way to much more.

What I enjoyed:
* Ethnic, and religious representation. Eleanor's Japanese Jewish and Leena's Indian Hindu backgrounds are a significant part of their narratives.
* Feminist approach. Several nods to folks like bell hooks an
...more
Emily Grace
You needed everything to be so orderly and organized and contained. Love is fucking guts, it's messy and gross. It's nice things too, but it's mainly human, so it's disgusting.

In 2004, Eleanor and Leena meet in their college dorm and have an instant connection. Despite developing intense feelings, when the time comes for Leena's planned semester abroad they claim only a casual connection and go their separate ways. Six years later and they meet again in a chance encounter on the streets of S
...more
Katrina Ruiz
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sweet, fun, smart romance and all of the early 2000s college nostalgia feels.
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Emily U. Hashimoto is a writer from the suburbs of New Jersey. She’s a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in women’s & gender studies, and her M.S. in Information Science from Pratt Institute. She’s received fellowships from VONA and Queer Arts, working with Sarah Schulman.

Her first novel, A World Between, follows two queer women of color over the course of thirteen years as they grow aw
...more

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