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The Difference Between You and Me
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The Difference Between You and Me

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  3,911 ratings  ·  364 reviews
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" t
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Viking Children's
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  3,911 ratings  ·  364 reviews

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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
Jan 17, 2012 marked it as dnf
Shelves: starred-2012, ya, 3
Didactic, full of stereotypes and too message driven.
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Richie Partington
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-lit, ya-ness
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Becky Shaknovich
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: november-2015, fiction, ya
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
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
This book was good in terms of characters (all of whom I loved) but pretty light on actual plot. I really liked Jesse and Emily’s utter self-delusion was so well observed. I’d never heard of this book but I’m really glad I read it.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Paula Gallagher
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice read.

I enjoyed learning about all the three main characters trying to find their way through high school, growing into themselves.

I did find the narrative choices odd. Different POVs for the different character sections, the book is told from the perspective of the three main characters, though mainly Jesse. Why were Emily's sections the only ones written in first person? I felt it was a disservice to that high-strung character to not get a more objective view of her.

But I did enjoy th
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am not sure I can review this book. It's too sweet to review.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
First of all, it’s terrible how long it has taken me to get around to reading this book. I’ve had it on my shelf for years and have loaned it out to several people, but it was never quite the right time for me to read it. So since it’s now June when I’m writing this, and Pride Month, seemed like as good as an excuse as any to bump this to the top of my list. The Difference Between You and Me left me with a mostly warm fuzzy feeling. Out-and-proud butch Jesse and closeted and bi Emily have been h ...more
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Seema Rao
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-strong-females, ya
Tl/dr: Two girls in high school have one love but two very different takes on politics
Good: strong characters, charming details, sweet romance
Bad: a little heartbreaking how the one out girl is strung along by the closeted kid

Sweet light romance that is worth a read
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Achingly, yes.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school, ya, queer
I wish there was more resolution at the end, but I really enjoyed this book. Direct queer representation throughout the book, and the varying perspectives were interesting. I would personally have loved to read all from Jesse's perspective, but that's probably just because I related to her the most. Commentary on corporations such as "StarMart," a clear Wal-Mart stand-in, and a lot of social justice action inspiring language.
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)
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, queer, kindle
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,
Elizabeth K.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-new-reads
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
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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