by Lily Anderson
To be published by St. Martin’s Griffin
on May 17, 2016
Source: eARC from publisher for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.My take: I'd describe the overall vibe of The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You as John Green (group of genius kids who spend most of their time engaging in witty nerdish banter) + Rainbow Rowell (the whole fandom thing) + ... maybe a touch of Big Bang Theory.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is also a loose retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, one that involves a heated school competition over class rank and a very mild mystery. I wasn't sure it was all going to work, but it did in the end.
I really liked the friendship between Trixie, Harper and Meg. And the mystery, which I was skeptical about at first, definitely grew on me. The romance -- which uses one of my favorite tropes (hate to love!) very effectively -- was quite sweet. And I adore the cover, which has a nice quirky, comic book-ish vibe.
I did struggle a bit with a few things. I'm a huge nerd (as are most avid readers, probably) but the fandoms in the book aren't really my fandoms. (I think Rainbow Rowell was clever in creating a completely fictional fandom.) The fandoms here are comic books (sorry, no), Dr. Who (very sorry, but not really), Joss Whedon (yes, I've seen every Buffy episode and defend it vigorously to those who think it was just a cheesy show with bad special effects. I can't quote dialogue and *whispers* I've only seen a couple episodes of Firefly).
So if these things aren't your things, you may feel a bit lost and left out of the joke at times. I did remember (sort of) the plot of Much Ado though I certainly wouldn't call myself a Shakespeare nerd.
For this reason, perhaps, I also though the book felt long. I was reading on a kindle and guessed it was 450-ish pages, when actually it was only 350-ish. To me, it seemed to take a while to really get going, with all banter and no plot for a long time.
Highly recommended for: fans of witty nerd banter, Dr. Who, comic books, Shakespeare retellings.