The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You – Lily Anderson – St. Martin’s Griffin – Published 17 May 2016
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West–and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing–down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books–well, maybe not comic books–but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on–and they might not pick the same side.
Completely clever and totally enthralling, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with so many geeky, nerdy, academic, comic and literature references. This book will encourage everyone’s inner geek to burst forth. TOTWTMIY is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And just like with the original Benedick and Beatrice, our main characters Ben and Trixie (already spotting the parallels?) love to fight. Everything about Ben drives Trixie nuts. And just like in the play these two are thrown together when their friends start up a romance. Sparks fly.
The best thing about this book is that it never felt like a retelling. I knew it was, but every time a new twist was revealed I was surprised. I could see the parallels, but it felt original. Actually, it felt very clever, the way little things reflect the original story but are so seamlessly recreated. The setting is perfect. The Mess, short for the Messina Academy for the Gifted is for brilliant teens. And these teens are truly amazing. I loved the characters, loved that they were so clever but still teens at heart (and yet I could also picture Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh spouting off some of their lines). The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You is geek/nerd fiction at its very best, with romance, friendship and Shakespeare all rolled into one. I can’t wait to share this one with our readers.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Friendship, romance, comics, gifted students, academics, high school, Shakespeare.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, f***.
Published: 17 May 2016 by St Martin’s Griffin.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 352 pages.