The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson.
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Summary 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.
“The Mess is a school for geniuses. You can’t rule out malicious mischief.”
“Idle nerds turn into supervillains,” I said. “
Earlier this year I was lamenting about reading too much fantasy and wrote a post about using the Goodreads recommendation tool to find new things to read. I picked some books to add to my TBR but never got around to really following up on them. Well I am happy to say that this is one of those books from that list, and I ended up really liking it.
It took me awhile to warm up to Trixie, our narrator, but she did eventually grow on me. My main problem was her borderline harassment/bulling of Ben. Now this is an enemy to lovers story, so I knew they would start off not liking each other, but like I said it was a tad too much. However she does redeem herself with her relationships with her two best friends Harper and Meg. They have a wonderful sisterhood which was nice to see in a YA. I also appreciated how nice she was to other students, especially younger ones. So she wasn’t an all around bully, just with Ben, poor guy. But as you know things eventually work out for them.
Then of course there was Ben. I liked him from the start, although he also was a bit over the top in his bullying/harassment of Trixie. Although his always felt a little on the defensive side. It seemed like Trixie always started and he would just follow up with a nasty comment. It might have been nice to see a bit of the story from his point of view. I also liked Ben because of how he treated others, helping out younger kids and his friends when needed.
Because these kids are all geniuses and go to a school just for them, their whole approach to life and dating was sweetly geeky. Loved the banter about Dr Who, Marvel comics and other current fandoms, mixed in with quotes from Shakespeare and other famous people. The plot also had some other things going on around the romance, a cheating scandal and the high pressure on these kids to succeed plus all the insecurities these types of kids often feel.
Towards the end of the book there is a great explanation of why the enemies to lovers trope is so popular and why it works. Basically, your brain can’t tell the difference between love and hate, but it relies on the context of the situation to tell you which it is. Therefore, if your opinion of something or someone changes than your context is changed as well. They explain it better in the book, but I didn’t want to spoil it too much, trust me it does work. It will also change your perception of this trope.
I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely be on the lookout for more of this author’s work, especially the next time I am in the mood for a contemporary.