Sep 29, 15
Read from April 26 to 29, 2011
** spoiler alert **
Hmm. I always find it harder to write reviews for novels I didn't absolutely love, especially when I had such high hopes for them. I loved the cover for Not Like You and assumed it would be such a heartfelt and sentimental novel.
My main complaint about Not Like You is it's lack of originality. I found many of the characters to be cookie-cutter "complex" without any new angles or plots that I hadn't already read before. It reminded me of an un-profound Deb Caletti or an Ellen Hopkins without the poetry and angst. I also felt as though there were many untouched plot points, such as why Kayla was so hesitant to trust others, the fact she missed an entire month of school, whether or not Sherrie and Shirley were gay, etc.
Despite this, Deborah Davis' writing made the novel come alive for me. The "trailer-trash" feel to the novel made me incredibly uncomfortable, especially with Deborah's descriptions of Kayla's living conditions and their financial situation. Her portrayal of Marilyn's alcoholism and how it dictated how Marilyn and Kayla's lives turn out was heartbreaking. I was torn over whether to pity her state, detest her addiction, or hope for her recovery. I also liked Luz, as there are few YA novels who depict teen pregnancy but not in first-person.
One of the only points I liked about Not Like You was how there wasn't a fairy-tale/happy ending, as realistically Kayla's life would have continued to be dictated by her mother's alcoholism. I appreciated the recurring theme of music but felt the last two pages were incredibly cliched. Overall I wish there had been another major plot point or a stronger main character to either balance out Marilyn or bring a stronger voice to the narrative.