The Difference Between You and Me
Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman's boots. She's the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She's vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend. These two girls have nothing in common, except a passionate secret attraction to one another. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they're each forced to decide what's more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?
Advance Praise for THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME:
"Thank you, Madeleine George, for a story that is sweet, tender, true! Achingly honest and empowering, The Difference Between You and Me shines proud light on a corner of high school life that has been too long in darkness."
—Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Wintergirls
"The Difference Between You and Me is different—and complicated, and romantic, and fun. I absolutely loved it."
—Maureen Johnson, author of The Bermudez Triangle and Suite Scarlett
"Madeleine George's The Difference Between You and Me is a funny, complex, and beautifully written tale of all the things—big and small—that make each of us who we are. I loved this book and can't wait to read it again."
—Nick Burd, author of The Vast Fields of Ordinary
From Publishers Weekly (starred review):
It doesn't make sense that radical 15-year-old Jesse—who plasters her high school's walls with "Normalcy is Death" manifestoes—could be smitten with buttoned-up student council VP Emily. It makes even less sense that Emily, who has a steady boyfriend, has reciprocal feelings for outspoken Jesse. But when the two girls meet in secret, all reason flies out the window ("Kissing Emily is literally the best thing Jesse has ever done. In her life. There is no feeling more right or perfect"). In a frank and funny account of opposites attracting, George (Looks) provides remarkable insight into teenage romance, alternating between the girls' perspectives as she conveys their uncertainties and traces their growing political awareness. When Emily and Jesse end up on opposite sides of a heated battle to keep big business out of the community, Emily manages to keep her conflicting interests compartmentalized, but the pressure is getting to Jesse. Rather than offering easy answers about love, lust, and politics, George recognizes teenage vulnerabilities and promotes taking a stand. Strong, empathetic characterizations and whip-smart writing make this a seriously enjoyable read.
From Kirkus Reviews (starred review):
Powerfully raw in its exploration of attraction and shame. Jesse hides her relationship from her warmly quirky and accepting parents not because it is with a girl, but because she knows they will disapprove of its secrecy. Readers will ache for her, and they will be torn between rage and pity toward Emily, so intent on forcing herself into a normative role that she cannot admit the truth even to herself. Clever phrasing, a decided political bent against big-box stores and characters who gently poke fun at various stereotypes round out this work of contemporary fiction.
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