“Seriously? Your sister hates me.”
“She doesn’t, I swear. She’s actually really great.” He touched my arm, then quickly retracted his hand. “Come.”
If Evie could love someone else, so could I.
Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick is the story of Alex, a girl who’s moved off with her mom to a new town and a new school after her father cheats. She leaves behind her best friend, Evie. At her new school, she falls in with twins Fred and Adina.
Alex likes Fred a lot, and he likes her back, but Adina keeps getting in the way. She lies to keep them apart, she starts fights with both Alex and Fred, she spreads rumors. Alex can’t tell if Adina’s just a sister who’s too possessive of her brother, or if maybe the twins are closer than it seems. She struggles with trying to figure out if her feelings for Fred are worth fighting Adina for.
At the same time, she’s losing Evie. Her best friend is moving on without her, dating a new boy, reaching new milestones. Her dad is moving in with his mistress. Her mom is struggling with alcohol. Basically: Alex’s life is a mess.
Right up to the end, I was wholly invested in the characters and the story, but it’s with the ending that Her and Me and You lost me. It ends abruptly and leaves far too much unresolved. Don’t get me wrong – I love it when some things are left purposely unresolved in a book. I love it when everything isn’t wrapped up in a perfect little bow and presented to the reader. Give me ambiguity about whether or not they truly get their happy ever after. But I need something to feel wrapped up, or else I just feel unsatisfied, like I did here.
I also wanted the relationships to be pushed farther. There were strong hints of a more-than-siblings relationship between Adina and Fred. Occasionally there were moments where it looked like some sort of strange triad could form between them and Alex. These are relationships that can be uncomfortable and weird, but my opinion is that if you’re going to go for it, you should go for it, and I was ultimately disappointed.
My other issue isn’t something that is necessarily a problem with this book, but is something I see in a lot of contemporary YA that frustrates me. When female protagonists in contemporary YA have female friends, they usually lose those friends (either simply from growing apart or, more likely, from fighting). This happens in Her and Me and You with Alex and Evie, and I’m just tired of it. This also ties in to my feelings about unfulfilled relationships, because there were definitely times when it seemed that Alex might have some romantic feelings for Evie (whether or not she would admit them to herself)
I’m saying all of this and it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this book at all, but I actually really liked it. I had my moments where I wanted to punch Adina but I also have a special place in my heart for characters – especially female characters – that most would deem unlikeable. I found myself completely consumed by Alex’s story, especially her interactions with Adina and Fred.
I may have found a few aspects of the book frustrating, but I cared about these characters, and that goes a long way.