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The Difference Between You and Me

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,737 Ratings  ·  298 Reviews
"Sweet, tender, and true!" - Laurie Halse Anderson

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 not
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Viking Children's
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I really did mostly like The Difference Between You and Me. There were some things that struck me as a little bit strange from the beginning. The book is told in alternating chapters, mostly from the main character's points of view. Jesse's chapters are told exclusively in third person (albeit a very close third person, so close that I sometimes forgot it was third at all) and Emily's chapters are exclusively first person. Weird, but okay. The premise - that a closeted, preppy student council gi ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, ala-ya-2013
Didactic, full of stereotypes and too message driven.
Mar 20, 2012 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover featured here is so different from the cover on my copy of the book. Wow. (I don't like either of them, actually.)

I have mixed feelings about this book. What I liked: it's a fast, enjoyable read with an empowering ending. A couple of the characters, particularly Jesse, ended up being more complex than I initially anticipated. Jesse's parents are present and positively involved in her life. The themes of the book (for example: being true to yourself) are age appropriate. TDBYAM is not
I had some serious problems with this book.

First, Jesse and every other character is a flaming stereotype. It's okay to be butch, or do whatever you want to express your orientation/gender identity/political beliefs- that's chill. It's just that it's THE ENTIRE BOOK. Everyone is a liberal radical who fights the system and listens to NPR and has quirky accessories and causes. That, or they're an objectivist (Wyatt, gay best friend (if they're both gay, does that stereotype count? Is there a lesb
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Madeleine George, Viking, March 2012, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-670-01128-5

"Light a candle, curse the glare"
-- Hunter/Garcia

"'This is a conversation,' Jesse's father says, 'about what happened at school today.'
"'I don't really feel like having a conversation about what happened at school today,' Jesse shrugs.
"'Well, you're gonna,' snaps her mother. Jesse's father lays a restraining hand lightly on his wife's arm.
"'Sweetheart,' he says to Jesse, 'It'
Aug 11, 2011 Ab rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-ness, queer-lit
Ok, so I think I'm ready to review this book. I needed to get some space away from it, first. I guess it just pissed me off, more than anything. In Madeleine George fashion, the chapters alternate perspectives between main characters, much like "Looks". My problem with this book was just how crappy Jesse gets treated over and over again, and how oblivious Emily is to everything taking an ounce of brains/intelligence/common sense. I KNOW people get treated badly every day; I KNOW it's hard to be ...more
Lori (Pure Imagination)
This book really wasn’t anything like I was expecting. I thought it was mostly going to be a love story about Emily coming to terms with who she is. That really wasn’t the case at all. The story revolves around Jesse the most and it’s really about her finding herself, standing up for what she believes in, and just growing up. Emily’s role in the story is a bit smaller and infuriating.

I really loved Jesse. She was very complex and very unique. She didn’t care to be different but her feelings for
Jul 13, 2012 Kiwi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madeleine George's sophomore book shifts between three points of view. It's a little distracting at first since both Emily and Esther's sections are told in first person and Jesse's is in third. But George's writing keeps the transition from being too jarring.

Jesse Halberstam is out and proud. She goes around the school in an awful pair of boots and a homemade haircut hanging up posters with her manifesto for the liberation of weirdos. But she has a secret. Every Tuesday she meets Emily Miller a
Becky Shaknovich
I really loved this book, contrary to popular goodreads reviewer opinion. Compared to other books I have read about teen love affairs, is it SEXY! The makeout sessions are described in an intense, realistic way, which I feel teen readers deserve. Sexual activity does not have to be glossed over in YA books.

I'm not sure if teens will really relate to the story line, because there is a strong focus on politics. The "differences" that teens usually face (in books and probably in real life, from my
This book bummed me out.

Ostensibly it's about two high school girls, sophomore Jesse and junior Emily. Jesse is out and proud about being both queer and a weirdo; Emily is closeted, buttoned up, a striver. Their common ground is the time they secretly spend together every week making out in a library restroom. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a controversy over a Walmart-like company moving into town questions arise about what their relationship means to each of them and what they
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
2.5 stars

It really upsets me to read a diverse book and not want to recommend it. More than any other book, I’m predisposed to love them and determined to find the good, but some don’t live up to my expectations.

The Difference Between You and Me isn’t a terrible book. It tries really hard, and it’s about good things. Actually, I think part of it’s problem is that it tries too hard and ends up whacking you on the head with the message hammer. The anti-corporate and self-confidence messages are gr
Mar 09, 2013 Les rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our library has this on their shelf of books recommended by staff, so I decided to try it. It's an interest story about the awkward relationship between 2 very different high school girls.

Jesse is a lesbian who is out to her parents, who are both former activists (they met when they were being fingerprinted after being arrested at a protest). She is admittedly off-beat, cutting her hair with a Swiss Army knife and wearing b*tt-ugly green fisherman's boots every day. She is the sole member of the
Apr 25, 2012 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, young-adult, queer
I would maybe rate this actually somewhere between two and three stars, though it's hard to say. It's a quick read and I don't feel like very much happened, but as we know, I am a sucker for all books about baby dykes.

The blurb makes this sound like a love story, which it is not. And the trend of baby dykes falling in love with closeted straight girls is so sad and heartbreaking. Also, I am ALWAYS way more curious about the closeted straight girls than I am about the characters who are out. Or,
The Difference Between You and Me is a queer high school story that isn't a coming-out story: Jesse Halberstam is a sophomore, and she's already been out as a lesbian for a year. She gets harassed at school because she's out and gay and butch and wears big clompy rubber fisherman's boots all the time. But that's not the center of the story, either. Jesse has a delicious secret: she's been having an ongoing affair (which involves hot make-out sessions in the out-of-the-way/never-used 3rd-floor ha ...more
Paula Gallagher
I would be more inclined to give this one 2 1/2 stars. While this seems to be more Jesse's story, the chapters belonging to her are told in the third person. Jesse's the manifesto-writing paper-the-school lesbian activist-wannabe looking for equal human rights and acceptance. She's flawed, interesting and likable. Her downfall is the fair Emily, the overachieving student council vice president with a long term boyfriend. Emily gets to speak to the reader in the first person, and tell us all abou ...more
Elizabeth K.
I liked this book okay, but it was one of those things where for a long time I thought I was reading a different book.

What happens in this book: Jesse, an out yet very awkward and geeky and mostly a loner high school junior, is having a clandestine relationship with Emily, a popular student council type with a jock boyfriend. Jesse's parents are politically radical, liberal type folks, and this (I guess) makes it seem natural when she becomes friends with another girl at school, Esther, who is p
Feb 13, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Difference Between You and Me is a young adult novel about Jesse, an outcast and open lesbian in her high school, and Emily, a closet bisexual who has a boyfriend, is on the student council and is highly regarded around school. Jesse and Emily have a secret relationship which is tearing Jesse to pieces in many ways. Things come to a head as Jesse develops another friend, Esther (who may or may not be a lesbian...not sure if that was ever disclosed) but who challenges Jesse to do something me ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Mis'tija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book the difference between you and me wasn't what i expected when reading this book. Then ending took a completely different turn that my mind wasn't ready for.
This book is about two female lovers that keep their love a secret. These two lovers are Jesse and Emily. Emily is very out going and tremendous leader who leads the school and runs the class government. She is very smart,pretty and popular. Jesse on the other hand is nothing like Emily. She doesn't quite "fit in" with her peers at s
Agent Smith
This was a quick read-but I found it lacking and not wholly satisfying.
Sep 28, 2011 krispea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure I can review this book. It's too sweet to review.
Nov 24, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really unsure of what to do with this book. My main complaint is that it is written by someone who doesn't seem to value gender conformity much. But, she is still using words such as "manning". Why are we manning stations when we could be staffing stations? I do not understand.

Parts of this book I loved, and parts of it just made me feel awkward. I saw myself in the main character quite a bit, and then in other parts not so much. I think because I didn't date anyone in high school and wasn
Aug 17, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I adore Jesse and her growth into her own skin. She reminds me much of my ex. At the beginning of the book she was content with being Emily's secret Tuesday hook-up date, and grew to respect herself more, and she gained the respect of those around her.

Emily however, was so robotic and unfeeling I hated reading her chapters. For a book written in alternating perspectives, hating at least half of the book isn't good. Jesse thinks incredibly highly of Emily and fully believes she loves Emily. For
Told from mainly from two points of view.
Jesse: out and proud, is okay with her "freak" status and wants to make freaks considered "normal". Great character! I love how she has her own style and readers can relate to her story of "I love someone who makes me hate myself."

Emily: closet bi-sexual and popular-student-council-ambitious high school student. Doesn't consider kissing Jesse cheating on her boyfriend. I feel like the author wanted the reader to hate this character. She doesn't give her
this is YA. i probably would have been really into it when i was in junior high, & it would probably be a good read for a young teenager now. especially if that teenager is kind of alternative & political & maybe exploring her sexuality a little bit. the main protagonist here is a punky boot-wearing shit-stirrer who makes anonymous manifestos celebrating freakdom & posts them up all over school. her lefty lawyer parents are very supportive of their special snowflake, including he ...more
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

It all started with Les Miserables. After watching the most recent adaptation of the musical, I felt I needed to learn more about the subplot involving Marius and his friends and thus proceeded to read about the student-led Paris Uprising of 1832.

From there, I started to think about student-led rebellions and revolts in general and the year 1968 and its many students protests all around the world in particular.

Then, I thought of how I read a lot of You
For the past year, Jesse Halberstam, a rubber-boot-wearing social renegade, and Emily Miller, a J. Crew-sweater-wearing Student Council vice president, have been meeting every Tuesday for torrid makeout sessions in the library. Emily has a long-time boyfriend and insists on keeping the relationship a secret despite the fact that Jesse arouses her in a way that Michael, her boyfriend, fails to do. Then, too, worried about what others will say, Emily barely acknowledges Jesse in the high school ha ...more
Review first posted live on Rather Be Reading Blog --

For reasons I can’t completely grasp (even after I finished it a week ago), I felt strongly connected to Jesse and Emily’s relationship. At times, I wanted to just throw the book across the room because the dread, the ache, the excitement between the two was so real to me. It felt like I was experiencing it myself. That would be thanks to author Madeleine George, who I was delighted to find out is a playwright living right in my backyard (NYC)
Oct 25, 2012 Reut rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed on reutreads, a young adult book blog.

The Difference Between You and Me was a book I'd been hearing a lot of hype about, from authors like Laurie Halse Andersen and Susane Colasanti--absolutely glowing praise. I was really excited about it for some reason. Anyway, I ended up somewhere between "I liked it" and "it was okay."

The contrast between Jesse, a semi-out and proud lesbian, and Emily, a closeted lesbian, is obviously one of the driving forces of the novel. To be frank:
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“Anyway, if you need your heroes to be perfect, you won't have very many. Even Superman had his Kryptonite. I'd rather have my heroes be more like me: trying to do the right thing, sometimes messing up. Making mistakes. Saying you're sorry. And forgiving other people when they mess up, too.” 24 likes
“Once," Fran says, settling against the worktable, folding her arms, "I knew this kid who very bravely and bossily came out of the closet when she was only fourteen years old. She told me then that we can't choose who we love. We just love the people we love, no mattter what anyone else might want for us. Wasn't that you?” 11 likes
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