Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George 
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 the passionate "private time" they share every Tuesday afternoon. 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 each have to decide what's more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?


I borrowed this novel from my teacher because I'd remembered seeing it on a few Waiting on Wednesday posts and I always enjoy a good contemporary. Madeleine George's latest release, The Difference Between You and Me was a unique and heartwarming story that I'm glad I took the chance to read. I'm ashamed to say I didn't read the summary beforehand and just assumed the cover spotlighted a male and female. I soon realized this wasn't the case and it made me happy to see this book wasn't going to be my typical read. Jesse and Emily were two original, and very different, characters and I enjoyed getting to know them. I haven't read anything by Madeline George before, but she's definitely on my watch list now!

This novel is told in alternating chapters between Jesse and Emily. Jesse is a bit of a rebel and isn't afraid to be herself. Emily, on the other hand, is an organized, put together student council member with a boyfriend. You wouldn't think the pair even knew each other, but they do. Emily and Jesse meet up in the library bathroom every Tuesday afternoon. Their "relationship" was more physical than anything, but as the novel progressed, we got to see the two develop and get to know each other beyond these Tuesday meetings when a school debate sets them on opposite sides. 

The duel point of views really helped me get to know both of these girls and understand them and their motivations. Jesse was involved in a lot of human rights activities and her parents were very likable. Jesse's friends were another set of secondary characters I liked getting to know. Emily wasn't my favorite person, but by seeing things from her side I was able to understand her better. 

The Difference Between You and Me was not a romance per se, it was much more than that. I'm glad I read something I normally might not have picked up and was able to see what a great author Madeline George really is. There was much more to the story than Emily and Jesse's connection, but it also tackled bigger issues like the effect big businesses have on a small town, etc. 

I definitely recommend giving this book a chance come March even if you might think it is outside your comfort zone. I loved getting to know Jesse and Emily and the other characters introduced over the course of the story. Madeline George has created a wonderful contemporary novel in The Difference Between You and Me and I can't wait to see what's next for her. 

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

March 15, 2012/Viking Juvenile/256 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Borrowed from teacher (ARC)


  1. This sounds very interesting!
    I like the idea of this novel and I'm glad to hear that you thought it was so good.
    I think I'm going to give it a shot and put it on my wishlist!

    1. It was a great read that I highly recommend!

  2. This isn't something I'd normally pick up on my own, but it sounds like an interesting read. I'm curious to know how it works out in the end.


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