• North Beyond East
  • Drama Family Scouted Available Unrepped
  • 80.3
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Loglines
A teenager living in the inner-city has to choose between leaving to go to a prestigious Boston private school and staying behind to take care of her twin sister, who's struggling with complications from HIV.
A bright Black teenager in Washington, D.C. is given opportunities to study at an elite Boston private school, but sabotages her application out of feelings of obligation to her HIV-positive twin sister.
A highly intelligent teenage girl sabotages her own chance for a future so that she can remain at home and care for her beloved twin sister, who has been diagnosed with HIV.
Format
Genres
Drama, Family, Teen, Adolescence, Black Theme, Character Study, Daughter, Dysfunctional Family, Feel Good/Uplifting, Female Protagonist, Grief, Heartwarming, High School, Illness, Inspirational, Medical, Mother/Daughter, Parenthood, Racially Based, Relationship, Siblings, Slice of Life, Social Commentary, Student, Teacher, Tragedy, Troubled Youth, Urban
Pages
110
Rated
PG-13
Budget
Low
Lead
F Black 15 Average
Similar
Kids, Crash, My Sister’s Keeper, Marvin's Room, 50/50, Dallas Buyers Club
When
Present / About a few months
Where
Majority in inner-city Washington DC; some in Boston: counseling center, street, house, National Arboretum, etc.

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Synopsis
DARLENE DAWKINS (14) talks to OLIVIA MURPHY (50) about going to Derry Hill Academy. LASHAUNTA (14) has a counseling session with FELICIA NIXON (mid-30s), BOBBY, CALVIN, DAJUAN, and T.J. (?) for people living with HIV. MR. PARKER (50s) gives Darlene an application for Derry Hill, but Darlene says she doesn't want it.

Calvin and Lashaunta go on a date. Darlene and Lashaunta go see their mother, VONISHA DAWKINS (early 40s). Nixon finds out Darlene doesn’t want to apply to Derry Hill and tries to encourage her to apply.

Lashaunta has to go to the hospital. MARY CATE FRIEL (20s) says they need to drain Lashaunta’s abdomen, and they do. Lashaunta is told to eat better. Calvin and Lashaunta go on another date and kiss. Mary Cate tells DARIUS DAWKINS (mid-60s), the girls’ grandpa, that Lashaunta isn’t responding to the HIV medication.

Lashaunta talks to Mary Cate about having sex, and Lashaunta tells Darlene she’s thinking about having sex with Calvin. Lashaunta tries to convince Darlene to change her mind about applying to Derry Hill, but Darlene snaps at her.

Lashaunta and Calvin have sex. She tells Mary Cate that she thought it was perfect, but Mary Cate has to console her about her insecurities...
Reader 1 Comments
OVERALL (RECOMMEND)
“North Beyond East” is a drama about teenage twin sisters, one who has HIV and the other who’s putting her dreams of getting out of the city and going to a prestigious private school on hold to take care of her ill sister. This is a narrative that offers an original subject matter as well as unique characters and a fresh setting for the genre. The characters are wonderfully developed and realized, with emotionally affecting relationships, struggles, and arcs. Although the structure is a bit loose and not in an immediately recognizable three-act structure, it tells a complete story that poses and answers clear dramatic questions. The protagonists could be said to be a bit too passive at times, but this takes little away from the narrative’s ability to make them engaging and relatable. Despite some unconventional narrative elements, “North Beyond East” is memorable and resonant....
Reader 2 Comments
OVERALL (CONSIDER)
In “North Beyond East,” twin sisters Darlene and LaShaunta grow up in a struggling area of Washington, D.C. While LaShaunta is HIV positive, Darlene is not, and is given an opportunity to attend an elite school, but is held back by a sense of familial obligation. Protagonists Darlene and LaShaunta are well-rounded characters who are relatable in their complicated emotions and feelings of self-consciousness, and this story immerses us in their inner-city community and the economic and emotional struggles they encounter. Some of the pacing can feel slow as the story structure is a bit unbalanced between the two sisters, and the emotional stakes of Darlene’s application are not always fully palpable, but the story maintains a poignant tone and evocative dialogue as it depicts inner-city teenagers wrestling with being HIV positive. Darlene goes through a journey to acknowledge the importance of family while also prioritizing herself, and overall, “North Beyond East” tells a powerful story of teenagers trying to rise beyond their circumstances while also dealing with all the complex emotions attached to adolescence....
Reader 3 Comments
OVERALL (CONSIDER)
“North Beyond East” revolves around a highly intelligent girl who is purposefully failing at her studies and avoiding the next stages in her life so she can remain with her terminally ill sister and care for her. The premise suggests a wealth of drama. However, character work could be slightly improved by allowing the protagonist to evolve into a more active figure around the midpoint. This would actually result in some later guilt and additional conflicts for the character when her sister dies, thus heightening the already impactful drama. As for dialogue, some skillful choices are made within each character, and the results are accomplished and impressive. The structure is somewhat loose, and this does affect the pacing. However, much of this does serve the existential, wandering nature of the tone, so the perceived lack of structure is forgivable. Logic is sound, and there are only a few craft-related issues worth considering. While not without its flaws, “North Beyond East” makes up for these issues with its potent and emotional character work, and this alone is enough to warrant the project some attention....