Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: May 17th 2016
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.
I started The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You on a whim one afternoon and laughed on page 1. Definitely a good sign! I continued to laugh throughout this delightful book because it was funny, relatable, and nerdtastic.
It is a loose retelling (reimagining?) of Much Ado About Nothing, of which I know just about nothing aside from it being Shakespeare and there being an excellent hate-to-love Lizzie/Darcy type ship. I am always on board for that.
I can’t speak to how well it followed the play or what else was alluded to but the main romance was everything I love. Trixie and Ben had sparkling banter and could go back and forth all day insulting each other.
It also had a very 10 Things I Hate About You vibe; Trixie was a loveable unlikeable MC who reminded me so much of Kat Stratford! She means well but can come off as opinionated and harsh, and her words definitely have bite to them. Despite that, it’s hard not to love Trixie and her obsession with comic books or being the best at her genius school.
She does so much for her friends and her family, which really allows the more hidden parts of her personality to shine through. And I loved her parents! They were very hilarious and very present. They acted like parents but weren’t unreasonable, which I appreciated. I loved the presence of different parental units in general. It made the book feel more real.
On that same note, I loved the setting! School was shown to be a BIG part of their life- lots of time in class, studying, doing homework, school events. It made it feel relatable and believable even though it was a genius school. I also liked that it was a genius school because it allowed the characters to be slightly pretentious without being unlikeable. They were ALL smart and showed it in different ways. Each character had their own quirk but fit together in their group like a puzzle.
I loved the nerdy conversations, both academic and pop culture. It could have felt heavy handed or name-droppy but honestly, that’s how my friends and I talked. We were always going on about tv shows and books and movies that we loved. It felt natural and witty, like a game of word play. The comic book store was such an awesome setting, especially the first scene! I’m a big fan of routine, so I liked that the three girls went there every Wednesday to pick up their comics and got slurpees afterwards.
I really liked the mixture of guys and girls too; some had crushes on each other, some had always had a mixed group of friends, and others, like Trixie, were making guy friends for the first time. It was cool to not just have a Love Interest and his friends. It seemed like that at first, but the book does become about the group and not just about the couples. It was as much about friendship, preconceived notions, and the pressures of academic achievement as it was about romance. The mystery was really good too, and even though there was a twisty part in the story that took me by surprise I think it works well.
I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about this book! I loved the voice, the mixture of characters, the pop culture references, and the shippy romance. Plus any book that uses grammar and essay formatting to flirt is a winner in my opinion ;)