The Compulsive Reader: The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

The only thing that budding activist/misfit Jesse and perfectly polished student council member Emily have in common is how much they both enjoy kissing each other, every Tuesday afternoon in an out-of-the-way corner of the public library. No one knows about their weekly rendezvous and Emily plans on keeping it that way, despite Jesse’s desire to be open about her feelings for Emily. When Emily manages to hook a corporate sponsorship for school events and a number of the student body protests—led by Jesse—the relationship between the girls becomes more about their differences than about the few things they share.

The Difference Between You and Me is a thoughtful, funny, and memorable novel. The story alternates between the Jesse's and Emily's perspectives and although their romantic entanglement is what brings them together, it isn't the focal point of the book. With an excellent balance between humor and gravity, George explores how Jesse and Emily handle standing up and speaking out about their beliefs, how they each deal with conflict, and how far they are willing to go to be themselves. For the protagonists, their reactions to the conflict mirror how they view their sexuality and how much they each value their relationship with each other. George resists putting a label on any person or situation while posing an important question to readers: Is it harder to go with the flow and live with the consequences, or to stand up to stifling ideas and people, no matter the consequences? All of the characters are vibrant and multi-dimensional and the dialogue rings true, making for a smart, humorous, and important book that demands to be read in one sitting.

Cover Comments: I like the use of the shoes to illustrate the difference between the protagonists (Jesse's trademark footwear is big, green fishing books), and I like the cover color. It really jumps out at you, especially on the shelf.

Review copy purchased.


Anonymous said...

I think I remember seeing this one around a few years back, maybe.
It sounds like a fun read, so thanks for putting it back on my radar.

The Compulsive Reader said...

It came out late last spring, early summer. But, I'm sure you can get it from a library, and if not, it comes out in paperback soon!