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