Monday, December 6, 2010

Review—Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

Synopsis (via Goodreads): First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

Review: I got to read an ARC of this book courtesy of Around the World ARC Tours and was excited.  The cover and synopsis intrigued me.  It sounded like a dark, complex look at love and family.  And it definitely tried to do that, though not very successfully.

It didn't help that Strasnick's writing style seems very curt and rather choppy.  Some chapters literally started with just Alex stating what day it is and where she is.  There isn't a whole lot to really get you to attach yourself to Alex or Fred and Adina.  Maybe Strasnick was going for a more bleak outlook, seeing as Alex is dealing with her mother's emotional breakdown and her father's infidelity, but it just didn't get me all that interested in the story all that much and it made Alex just seem kind of petty and boring.  Thankfully, though the plot seemed to just meander along, because it was so unembellished and stilted, it was pretty short and I flew through it on an hour-long train ride.

What really bothered me most is that we never understand why Adina and Fred are the way they are.  Adina runs hot and cold, clearly playing mental games with Alex, but we never find out why.  Fred alludes to the fact that she "has issues" as is clear with her eating disorder and almost sociopathic ways, but there's no payoff.  I don't need a resolution, but I at least need to understand what's causing her to act the way she is or deal with the fact that she's an anorexic alcoholic. Besides one incident that forces Fred and Alex to deal with her anorexia, it's never really discussed that she's going to get help.  It ends so abruptly and without any warning that I had to check and make sure it wasn't missing pages or something.

Plus, I never really got into Fred and Alex as a couple.  It seemed to me that their "attraction" was more due to the fact that Fred was there and Alex was "different."  Alex seemed to just want a boyfriend because her best friend back home had one so Fred would do even if he had a wacko sister and, at best, has a super weird relationship with her and, at worst, might be in love with her.  

I think this story could have worked as a dark, almost gothic story if it was just fleshed out a bit more.  Adina's craziness was interesting, but ultimately seemed to go nowhere so, when I finished, I just kind of didn't understand the point of it at all.  

The cover is pretty though.  Kudos to the designer.

Lit Snit Verdict: C-

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