Phoebe's Reviews > Her and Me and You

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick
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's review
Dec 21, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, contemporary
Read in December, 2010

I was very excited to pick up Lauren Strasnick's sophomore novel, Her and Me and You after loving her first book. Nothing Like You was one of my favorite reads this year--dark, sparse, but still lovingly told, the story of a girl dealing, often unsuccessfully, with her grief over her mother's death. Her and Me and You promised similar delicious angst. It's the story of Alex, a girl who moves away with her mom after her father takes in a new girlfriend. It promised to be a complicated tale of the triangles formed between teenagers and the other parties in their lives: Alex and her father and his girlfriend, Alex and her best friend and her best friend's boy, Alex and her boyfriend and her boyfriend's twin sister.

Strasnick's prose remains both dark and spare. She clearly knows how to handle her sparse stylistics, and manages to deeply evoke the wintery environment shown on the cover even in a volume composed mostly of dialog. Unfortunately, her command of the pacing felt off here, and it interfered with my enjoyment of the story of Alex's complicated life.

You see, this isn't so much a novel as a novella. That, in and of itself, isn't particularly problematic, though I was quite disappointed to find that my ebook was only 131 pages long, with thirty pages of that a sampler of Strasnick's first book. However, I could have forgiven that if the story's development had been tighter, and more fitting for the volume's slim length.

But it's not. Her and Me and You takes a very long time to become engaging. While I was immediately drawn in to Strasnick's debut, this follow-up took a good fifty-or-so pages to get going--and in a format this focused, I'm afraid that she just didn't have that many pages to spare. Alex and her love interest Fred spend a significant length of time waffling in their feelings over one another, but, though this is true to life, I didn't feel like I had quite enough of a relationship with Alex to remain riveted.

More interesting was both her, and Fred's, relationship with Fred's twin sister Adina. Adina is the kind of cool, but slightly evil friend that's usually termed a "frenemy" in modern YA--but she's rendered far more realistically and compellingly. And her relationship with Fred is fascinating. Why does he support her like he does? Why does she try to control his relationships? Is there something romantic lurking there, or is this just a reaction to the fact that their mother is dead and their father has all-but-abandoned them?

As I read deeper into the story of Fred and Adina, I became increasingly engaged. This is where Her and Me and You shines, in examining the fucked-up, confusing relationship between the twins, and all through the eyes of Alex, an interloper. The last third of the book was exciting and addictive.

Unfortunately, it all ends abruptly and with a rosy optimism that both didn't appeal to me personally and didn't seem to be a fitting end for what we read before. While I was fascinated by what I found deep within this book once it gained speed, because it prevaricated through its slim first half, and because the ending was ultimately unsatisfying, I can't recommend it without hesitation. Readers interested in Strasnick might be smart to pick up her debut--thrilling, beautiful, and flawless--before they take a look at Her and Me and You.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

slightly evil friend that's usually termed a "frenemy" in modern YA

I can't believe I haven't come across this word before.

From now on I'm referring to everybody I know as a frenemy. EVERYBODY.

Cory My thoughts exactly. I expected so much more from a 20k novel. Eh, it was alright, I guess, but it took a while to get into it.

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