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Things We Have in Common Hardcover – January 31, 2017
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"[A] perfectly orchestrated girl-who cried-wolf thriller.... Kavanagh's second-person narration ... reveals the very thin line that separates garden-variety teenage agita from dangerous delusion.... [T]he artfulness with which [Kavanagh] deceives and manipulates is so downright creepy that one periodically finds oneself in the discomfiting posture of cheering on the bullies and the mean girls."-The New York Times Book Review
"[W]ildly clever...spectacular...The conclusion underscore[s] the author's searing insight into teenage behavior and the desperation for connection."-Publishers Weekly
"An unreliable narrator in the most intriguing way.... A quick, thoroughly enjoyable read."-Booklist
"A tale of loneliness and teenage obsession which could be the next Gone Girl success story."-Independent (UK)
"A brilliantly twisted coming-of-age tale... The story chillingly, compulsively unravels."-Sunday Express
"A striking and highly enjoyable debut."-Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author
"Tasha Kavanagh's Yasmin is as complex and believable a narrator as you will find. Her honesty drives the novel to its unflinching, brilliant conclusion and is why Things We Have in Common is so disturbing...so impossible to set aside." -Travis Mulhauser, author of Sweetgirl
"With a dark and suspenseful plot that keeps the reader guessing until the final pages, Things We Have in Common is an assured debut narrated by an alarming and original voice." -The Irish Times
"Kavanagh does orchestrate some successful plot twists that are reminiscent of other psychological thrillers-classics by Ruth Rendell, for example, or more recent hits like Gone Girl."-Kirkus Reviews
"A pitch-black comedy thriller."-The Guardian
About the Author
Tasha Kavanagh has an MA in Creative Writing and has worked as an editor on feature films, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, Twelve Monkeys and Seven Years in Tibet. Her first adult novel is Things We Have in Common and it was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction. She lives in Hertfordshire with her family and three cats.
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Half-Turkish, obese, unable to read social cues and not particularly likable, Yasmin is a multi-dimensional character. She lies about everything, so her reliability as a narrator is in question. Additionally, she has a rich fantasy life and vivid dreams so I often had difficulty distinguishing what was real. At times she was sympathetic, still grieving her father she views his death as her emotional downfall. Her hapless mother and critical stepfather leave Yasmin feeling totally alone. She had a plethora of mental illnesses and personality disorders, adding to her complexity. I couldn't root for Yasmin, she was too selfish and self-absorbed.
I liked Tasha Kavanagh's writing style, although at times I was confused what was real and what wasn't. I loved how she write in second person, the "you" was Samuel, the man she thinks will take Alice. Yasmin's fixations, first in Alice, then Sam, written with romantic overtones, seemed more obsessive than sexual. She wanted to be loved and esteemed, the way her father had made her feel.
I hated the ending. THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON basically just stops without resolution. I didn't understand what happened, but had several theories. I read through all the GoodReads reviews for spoilers to see what other readers had to say.
Yasmin’s mother, Jennifer then married, Gary Thornton.
Since her father died, Yasmin took comfort in eating and became obese. The kids at school bullied her and she had no real friends. Jen and Gary sent her to a dietician, Doctor Bhatt. She did not comply with the doctor’s orders.
Gary was blunter than her mother; however, both of them pressed Yasmin to lose weight, leaving her feeling isolated at home too.
Yasmin was attracted to Alice Taylor, a classmate that she idolized. The book begins with Yasmin carrying on imaginary conversations with Alice and thinking of ways she could become real friends with her. Secretly, she wanted more than just a friendship with Alice and began watching and stalking her.
In the process, Alice seems to come frightened and her friends who already found Yasmin disgusting increased there abusive behavior to her. Yasmin built her strange fantasy when she noticed a man with his dog watching Alice. She imagined that he was a murdering pedophile who intended to kidnap, molest and murder Alice. She imagined that she would save Alice and become a hero to Alice and popular with her classmates.
When Alice Taylor became missing, she fantasized about knowing who had her. Before long, she imagined a plan to befriend the man she thought was responsible for Alice’s kidnapping in an effort to save her.
During that process, her feelings for the stranger developed into an imagined friendship and love fantasy.
What if the stranger really is the one who kidnapped Alice? Is Alice dead? Will Yasmin rescue Alice? Will the perpetrator discover Yasmin’s plan? Will he target Yasmin? Will Yasmin tell her parents, her teachers, Alice’s friends or the police?
These are all questions that will be answered in this strange yet memorable tale.
At the close of this 288-page murder mystery, the author provides discussion questions for the reader and a question and answer section as the author answers questions.
While the author’s writing skills, style and ability to tell a spellbinding tale are terrific, I did not like this story or the characters. It is not my cuppa.
To be fair, although I did not enjoy the subject matter, the quality of writing was exceptional and the author's writing style and ability to tell a story that flowed smoothly deserve a 4 star rating.
For those of you who have teenaged girls or those who can relate to a tale like this, enjoy!