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The Difference Between You and Me Hardcover – March 15, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George:

"...this heartbreaking tale is powerfully raw..." —Kirkus, starred review

"The characters are vivid ... and the desire Jesse and Emily feel for each other jumps off the page .... Readers of Julie Ann Peters, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Zarr, and Sarah Dessen will welcome this addition to collections of realistic fiction." —School Library Journal, starred review

"...especially memorable." —Horn Book

"Teens expecting a run-of-the-mill romance are in for a surprise with George's (Looks, 2008) smart, multilayered novel told in alternating viewpoints." —Booklist

"...warm, complex, hopeful, and original..." —BCCB

About the Author

Madeleine George's two novels are published by Viking Children's Books. Her first book, LOOKS, was one of Booklist's 2008 Top Ten First Novels for Youth, and was a 2009 ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her second book, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME, was a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012, a Junior Library Guild selection and an ALA Rainbow List selection, and was chosen as Atlantic Wire's Best Complicated Romance of 2012.

Madeleine's plays, including THE (CURIOUS CASE OF THE) WATSON INTELLIGENCE, SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND, PRECIOUS LITTLE, and THE ZERO HOUR, have been produced at theaters around the country, and are published by Samuel French.

Visit her at madeleinegeorge.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1020L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (March 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670011282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670011285
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lori VINE VOICE on March 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book really wasn't anything like I was expecting. I thought it was mostly going to be a love story about Emily coming to terms with who she is. That really wasn't the case at all. The story revolves around Jesse the most and it's really about her finding herself, standing up for what she believes in, and just growing up. Emily's role in the story is a bit smaller and infuriating.

I really loved Jesse. She was very complex and very unique. She didn't care to be different but her feelings for Emily really made her vulnerable. That made her feel extremely believable to me. Throughout the story Jesse grows. She has to figure out what's more important to her, her secret relationship with Emily or her beliefs. I had a lot of fun watching her journey and I think we could all stand to be a little more like Jesse.

Emily on the other hand....The book is told from alternating points of view with Jesse in the spotlight more often, but when Emily had her turn I couldn't help but pity this poor naive girl. She is vice president of student council and very serious about it. She also has a very serious boyfriend, but she meets Jesse once a week for a short make out session. She was very unlikeable, but I think she was supposed to be. That's just who she was. It was a great way to show the contrast between them. Props to Madeleine George for writing such very different but equally interesting characters.

The Difference Between You and Me isn't a romance so don't go into it expecting one. It's an intelligent story about a girl struggling to figure out who she is in a unique situation. I enjoyed every second of it and I think you will too!
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Format: Hardcover
Madeleine George's sophomore book shifts between three points of view. It's a little distracting at first since both Emily and Esther's sections are told in first person and Jesse's is in third. But George's writing keeps the transition from being too jarring.

Jesse Halberstam is out and proud. She goes around the school in an awful pair of boots and a homemade haircut hanging up posters with her manifesto for the liberation of weirdos. But she has a secret. Every Tuesday she meets Emily Miller at the library to make out. Emily's in the closet and staying there. She even has a boyfriend, Mike McDade. Meanwhile, Jesse meets Esther Meinz in detention and the two join forces in activism.

StarMart wants to put a store in their town. They're having trouble getting land, so they're trying to put pressure on the town to let them end. That includes funding the Vander High School's dance and athletic programs. Emily, the student council vice president, orchestrated the corporate sponsorship. Jesse and Emily may be in love, but the closet and their opposing political views are tearing them apart.

At times I thought Esther's point of view wasn't needed, but I thought the character was very important to the story. Everyone thinks she and Jesse are together, but neither of them show any sign of being interested. In fact, her sexuality is never discussed. She and Jesse are simply friends, and as Esther never brings her dating life up, it's none of Jesse's business. They connect in plenty of other ways, including their experiences with each of their mother's breast cancer.

I loved Jesse's relationship with her parents. Fran and Arthur pay attention to their daughter and are their to scold her when she gets in trouble.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The only thing that budding activist/misfit Jesse and perfectly polished student council member Emily have in common is how much they both enjoy kissing each other, every Tuesday afternoon in an out-of-the-way corner of the public library. No one knows about their weekly rendezvous and Emily plans on keeping it that way, despite Jesse's desire to be open about her feelings for Emily. When Emily manages to hook a corporate sponsorship for school events and a number of the student body protests--led by Jesse--the relationship between the girls becomes more about their differences than about the few things they share.

The Difference Between You and Me is a thoughtful, funny, and memorable novel. The story alternates between the Jesse's and Emily's perspectives and although their romantic entanglement is what brings them together, it isn't the focal point of the book. With an excellent balance between humor and gravity, George explores how Jesse and Emily handle standing up and speaking out about their beliefs, how they each deal with conflict, and how far they are willing to go to be themselves. For the protagonists, their reactions to the conflict mirror how they view their sexuality and how much they each value their relationship with each other. George resists putting a label on any person or situation while posing an important question to readers: Is it harder to go with the flow and live with the consequences, or to stand up to stifling ideas and people, no matter the consequences? All of the characters are vibrant and multi-dimensional and the dialogue rings true, making for a smart, humorous, and important book that demands to be read in one sitting
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