Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Difference Between You and Me

The Difference Between You and Me
Madeleine George
256 pages
Publisher: Viking
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

You know I'm going to read anything with Laurie Halse Anderson's endorsement on the cover.  I mean really, she's the queen of thought-provoking YA contemporaries.  But even before I knew she liked the book I'd been wanting to read it because the description really drew me in.

Jesse and Emily are complete opposites.  Jesse cuts hair with a swiss army knife into a short, boyish hairstyle and dresses in boyish clothing topped off with hideous fishing boots.  Emily, on the other hand, is VP of the student council and wears cardigans with pearl buttons.  But for some reason, they're drawn to each other and keep meeting each other in secret to make out.  But when an ideological issue draws them apart, will their "relationship" be able to withstand it?

I really enjoyed this quick novel.  I devoured in just a couple hours this afternoon and it was the perfect book to read all in one sitting.  I was hoping to see Jesse and Emily have a relationship, but really all they have is lust for each other.  (Don't worry, the book is not graphic!)  I was glad to see the storyline was much more than whether or not someone was going to come out of the closet, instead the book was more about what it's like to be a young person with a strongly held belief.

That was the part of the book I most related to.  I remember that feeling of being in high school and having an ideological belief that you feel you must take action on.  For my friends and myself that was starting a chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance at our school (only to be squashed by the blasted administration!)  For Jesse and her new friend Esther, it was stopping a Wal-Mart like corporation called StarMart from coming to town and killing all the locally owned businesses.  An admirable cause, to be sure and something my own neighborhood is currently facing.

Despite the book being written from both the points of view of Jesse and Emily, I felt like I got to know Jesse better than Emily.  I don't know if this was the author's intent, but I did feel more like rooting for Jesse, not that there was anything wrong with Emily.  I'm pretty sure she'll grow up to be a republican, but that's really neither here nor there.

Four stars!  Read this book and then give it to a friend who is passionate about a cause, any cause.  It will resonate with them.


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