The Difference Between You and Me

Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman’s boots. She’s the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She’s vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend.

These two girls have nothing in common, except the passionate “private time” they share every Tuesday afternoon. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what’s more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?

Summary from Goodreads, Amazon

Another book I got for Christmas and didn’t read for ages. I discovered today that it’s only sold in hardcover, not in paperback or Kindle. I really don’t think that’s a good choice.

Each chapter for this book was written from a different character’s POV. Normally Jesse and Emily but Esther was in there as well. I think George did the different voices really well and did some events from two different points of view so it would highlight how unreliable the narrators were.

I found the theme (beliefs over relationship) and characters of the book were done well, the characters were interesting to read about and I finished the book quite quickly. The ending was not what I expected but I think it worked. It was a sad ending but I think it suited the characters much more. Jesse grew into herself throughout the book and knew that being herself and her beliefs were more important than hiding in the closet with Emily (literally here) and Emily got what she said she wanted, even if it was missing something she couldn’t say.

On the note of the characters, I think George did well in expanding all the characters including the minor characters like Jesse’s mum and even Emily’s boyfriend, Michael but I don’t think she did such a good job on Emily. I felt really sorry for her but she was quite selfish and worse than that, her character was quite stagnant. It was obvious that we were meant to emphasise with Jesse, right from the start of the book, just going by on the passages they each got. With Jesse, we saw her family and her friends, people she interacted with outside of Emily but I don’t think Emily ever really got that. We never really got a lot of Emily’s background, her character was never expanded on as much as Jesse’s was and I found that quite sad. Yes, Emily was both the love interest and the antagonist in this book, but I think that George could have shown her skill with fleshing out the minor characters and applied it to Emily a bit more.

The plot in itself was okay. Nothing special or radical but I did like how issues came up in Emily and Jesse’s relationship outside of being in the closet (figuratively) or cheating (even though both were issues) but there was also how they were very different people and sometimes that can’t be overcome no matter how deep the attraction to each other is.

All in all, I’m glad I read it, it was a good book but I probably wouldn’t strongly recommend it. Three stars.

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