Title: The Difference Between You and Me
Author: Madeleine George
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Publication Date: March 15, 2012
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?
Unfortunately, I can honestly say I hated this book. I read it because I was considering using it for a paper I’m writing about LGBT themes in YA lit, but I don’t know if I can even stand to think about it, much less write about it past this review.
This book had so many problems. It sounded like it had the potential to be really good, but it fell laughably short. I didn’t like any of the characters, even Jesse, who I probably would be attracted to in real life. They all felt really fake and almost caricatured. Jesse was a little too over the top for me, and I felt a lot of her character was built around stereotypes.
I also hated Emily and wanted to bang my head against a wall ever time she uttered the words “corporate sponsorship.” I didn’t find her at all believable, because I simply couldn’t imagine a high school kid caring about things like corporate sponsorship. She was extremely irritating and made me want to break things.
Another issue I had with this book was the perspective from which it was written from. Jesse’s chapters are written in third person, while Emily’s and Esther’s are written from first. Emily’s chapters were very choppily written, but thankfully Jesse’s were a teeny bit better. I was also unsure as to why Esther had to have her own chapters at all, especially since there were only two of them.
I think the part of the plot dealing with the SmartMart controversy could have been a little more interesting if the book was more well written. I think Madeleine George may have been trying to emulate “teen speak” in Emily’s chapters with all the “like”s and fragmented sentences, but it gave me a serious headache. As previously mentioned, Jesse’s chapters were a little better, but only by a small margin.
I can’t think about this book without getting angry at how terrible it was, so I’m going to stop now and leave you with the one quote from it that I actually liked:
“I’m sorry, honey. I’m sure if you were a terrorist, you’d make a wonderful one.”