Thursday, November 15, 2012
Review: The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George
Though The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George is touted as a LGBT romance, I didn't think that the was the strongest part of the story-line It was hard to like Emily who was so concerned with her reputation that she seemed to be completely selfish throughout the story. Jesse's evolution from obsession to acceptance seemed much more authentic and realistic. As Jesse focused on her relationship with Emily she let another friendship slip. She had to confront this as she moved toward personal acceptance. This was the part of the book that I felt had the strongest message to teens---we need to be true to ourselves and to embrace and treasure our friends along the way.
The book is written in alternating chapters between Emily, Jesse, and occasionally Esther. Even though the book is really about Jesse her chapters are written in third-person while Emily and Esther's chapters are in first-person. It was very odd. Every time we switched narrators I thought about how odd it was. I don't think that is what the author hoped that the reader would think about when she chose this literary technique.
This book is on our Mock Printz list. We selected it because it received three starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Now that I've read the book, I disagree with those reviewers. Though I liked the book, it really isn't that special, especially not special enough to be considered for the Printz Award. I will leave it on my list, however, because I do think it has literary value and I hope a wide variety of students read it.