Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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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.
I have no words for how adorable this book was. Set at a school for geniuses, I found this book and its school setting to be so relatable because the students were actually concerned with their studies and their rankings at school, and that was precisely the experience I had when I was at high school.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And I’d consider it to be a really successful retelling. While the main characters do have the names Beatrice and Benedict, and there are some plot points that are reminiscent of the play, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You reads as its own contemporary story. The main plot of this book revolves around a series of incidents where a number of seniors are accused of having cheated in order to boost their rankings at school. Beatrice, Benedict and their group of friends are initially curious but don’t get involved. However, when one of their friends is accused of hacking into the school system to change the grades of others, Beatrice begins to investigate in order to figure out the truth behind the tampering of the rankings list. And of course, while this is going on, the romance between Beatrice (Trixie) and Benedict develops. What I really loved about the plot was that it was very well thought out. There were surprises at every turn but they were logical surprises that were set up really well beforehand. And this was true of the ending as well. The reveal at the end was unexpected and slightly shocking but it made sense considering everything that had happened earlier in the book.
The school in this book really cracked me up. It’s a school for nerds and geniuses and they all have incredibly high IQs. The students are all incredibly bright and love to do homework and assignments. And of course, this means that there are plenty of ‘nerd duels’, where people compare their IQs, a practice that is actually prohibited by the school. At the beginning of each month, a list of rankings is posted and this is the most important event for all of the students in the school. What I loved most about this school setting is that, even though it’s slightly outlandish and ridiculous, it reminded me a lot of my own high school experience. I went to an academically selective high school, and while it wasn’t filled with students who loved to study, the competitive nature of it and the constant reminders that school and university is important was reflected in this novel. What I loved was that even though every student at the school was extremely smart, they also did stupid things and made mistakes. Being smart doesn’t give them immunity to acting immaturely and having off moments and I thought this was captured really well in The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You.
“So, now we’re together. Together-together. We’re going to the library on Sunday.”
“Oh, nerd love,” I said.
I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Trixie and Ben had such great chemistry and I loved their banter. They were incredibly funny and their compatibility made their banter even more hilarious. I also loved that even though they were intelligent, they were also geeky and loved comic books. And this was true of most of the main cast of characters. They were just fun loving characters who just happened to enjoy school and learning as well as comic books. There were a lot of fandom references in this book, not only to Marvel and DC comics but also Doctor Who, Sherlock and other shows. Even though I wasn’t very familiar with some of the fandoms mentioned, it was done in a way that made the book accessible to a lot of readers and if you’ve been around the internet, then you should have no problem understanding the references.
I really just wanted to escape the Mess and be the kind of girl who came to class in a Princess Peach shirt and still managed to decimate everyone in an argument about Kierkegaard. Because that’s the kind of girl I was in my head. Proudly geeky, not only about comics of sci-fi but about everything I loved.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is a funny, contemporary high school story that is so wonderfully relatable. It has an adorable romance and a cast of characters that will have you laughing out loud at their crazy, nerdy antics. There was very little that I didn’t like about it and I recommend it to anyone who’s after a fast-paced and cute contemporary.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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I totally missed this book at first, because I was on hiatus. When I finally come across it I dismissed it because I didn’t like this cover. For some reason this comics-like cover is not appealing for me. Though now that I finally read the blurb it makes sense. Wonderful review, Jenna! I tend to read books that are on fluffy and adorable side when real life kicks me in the butt, so this book is definitely something that I need. And I love when the author surprises me with twists. I very far from fandoms and comics, but I hope I would be able to enjoy this book nevertheless.
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Yeah I agree that I almost dismissed it because of the cover as well. It seemed a bit immature and juvenile to me but it definitely does make sense when you read the blurb. Comic books are also a really big part of the novel so the cover really grew on me as well. Don't worry about not knowing much about comics and different fandoms though. They're not really important to the story and the author puts in references that are well-known to the general public. You definitely need this book in your collection, Ksenia. It's a great one to pull out when you need something to put you in a good mood!
Okay so maybe I wasn't so concerned with my rank at school but I am always trying to do my best and pushing myself to do better, so maybe a book set in high school where they are actually concerned about their lessons and doing well would be a nice change. I also like the sound of them being all nerdy and cute and all <3 This actually sounds like such a sweet book! I'm surprised I haven't heard of it before now.
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I totally agree. I love books with school settings but it's very rare for a novel to actually focus on grades and on the things that matter to students. The school in this book was a bit outlandish but I thought it was still super relatable. I'm so glad that I found out about this book because it's such an underrated gem!
Whaaaaat? I didn't know this was a Much Ado About Nothing retelling! Now I'm super intrigued. I do love the sounds of the adorableness and the nerdiness! Will have to check this out! Great review, Jenna!
Thanks Cyn! It was super fun to read and all the nerdy references made my heart sing. The school setting and the emphasis on school and homework was really great and I can't wait to read more by this author!
You had me at cute, nerdy romance Jenna! I had no idea this was a Much Ado About Nothing retelling either, I'm learning so much on your blog today:) This sounds like exactly what I'm in the mood for, so off I go to buy on Amazon!!!!
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Haha I think this book is appropriate for any mood! It's a great pick-me-up on bad days but also super great for the good days too. It's a really quick read and I can totally see myself rereading this for years to come.
I love your review. I am thinking this would be perfect for my niece. I am adding it to my list 🙂
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YAY! Glad I convinced you. It was really adorable and fun, and it would be great for readers of any age.
OMG, Doctor Who and Firefly references? This book is just the cutest!!
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Omg it was soooo cute! I could read this over and over and it would put a smile on my face every time.
OMG I had no idea it was a Much Ado About Nothing retelling! Makes me want to read it even more! Plus, you enjoyed it so much ^_^ Can't wait to find it sometime in the library, hopefully! 🙂
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Tbh I had no idea until about halfway through the book that it was a Much Ado About Nothing retelling. The character names probably should have clued me in but it definitely took me a while 😀 I hope you can get this one from the library because I loved it soooo much! It's also a super quick read too!
I love for adorable and nerdy!! How have I not heard of this one before?!? Lovely review!
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It's definitely an underrated book! I had no idea it existed until I saw it in the bookstore, looked up ratings on Goodreads and realised that it had a really high average GR rating! It was so much fun to read so I highly recommend it!
Yesss this book definitely sounds really relatable to those where study is a huge priority! That's something that seems to be missing in a lot of contemporaries. I love all the nerdy references too, something that speaks close to the heart lol.
Hehe I think you'd love this one Jeann! It was so much fun and you would totally love all the nerdy references 😀
This books sounds really interesting. I definitely think I will be checking it out some time soon. A great review. 🙂
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Thank you <3 I highly recommend this one if you love contemporary romances that also include great friendships and a large cast of characters. It was really well done and I sped through the book because it was so much fun to read.
This was a fun read for me as well. Great review!
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I'm so glad that you enjoyed it too! Though tbh I can't see anyone not enjoying this fun, nerdy and adorable read!