Trixie Watson and Ben West have been at each other’s throats for years, but are they really just way too perfect for each other? Witty and full of pop culture references, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is one of my favorite books this year! Read the first chapter below!
[Some Spoilers; Young Adult]
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Idle nerds become supervillains.”
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is simply amazing!
Trixie and Ben have been attending school together forever. They know each other well, and they’re enemies. While Trixie’s friends are making it their mission to actually gain the attention of boys their senior year of high school at their prestigious private school, Trixie is making it her mission to knock Ben West from third in the rankings.
Then Trixie’s friend, Harper, starts dating Ben’s friend, Cornell, and everything goes to hell. They have to be around each other and for their friend’s sake, they try and keep the bickering to a minimum. Once the cease fire is in place, Trixie starts to look at Ben a little differently, and Ben seems to be doing the same thing.
When students start getting caught cheating on assignments and their rank being stripped away, Trixie won’t stop until she’s figured out who set up her friend…and Ben will do anything to help her.
I honestly don’t remember when I smiled this much reading a book. I absolutely adore the pop culture references in here. I’ve read books that try to master the level of subtly with reality and fall short, but Lily Anderson knocks it out of the ballpark. This book covers everything and will make your inner fangirl so happy!
Ben and Trixie are adorable together, too. Their banter is so funny and snappy throughout the novel. Then there’s the romance…
I mean, C’MON!
“You’re perfect,” he stammered. His eyes flickered up to mine and held. “Don’t ever stop being you.”
“I’m just school and comics, too,” I breathed. “I don’t know how to be anything else.”
“Don’t be anything else. Be Trixie.”
He lowered his mouth to mine, catching more of my bottom lip than the top. His nose brushed mine, a hinting nudge. My mouth opened to mirror his. There was a pattern to kissing. It was a chain of individual kisses of varying sizes strung together to make a verb. I’d never considered that before. But, for once, my body seemed to know something that my brain didn’t.
The friendships between the characters are full of sarcasm and good humor. I think this review has turned more into my flailing around about how wonderful it is than anything else. The first chapter is below and you MUST read it!
Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache.
Hovering over his upper lip—possibly glued there—was a bushy monstrosity that shouted, “Look out, senior class, I’m gonna tie some chicks to the train tracks and then go on safari with my good friend Teddy Roosevelt. Bully!”
I blindly swatted at Harper with my comic book, trying to alert her to the fact that there was a mustachioed moron trying to blend in with the other people entering campus.
“I know I should have made flash cards for the poems that Cline assigned,” she said, elbowing me back hard, both acknowledging that she wasn’t blind and that she hated when I interrupted her monologues about the summer reading list. “But I found Mrs. Bergman’s sociolinguistics syllabus on the U of O website and I’m sure she’ll use the same one here.”
The mustache twitched an attempt at freedom, edging away from West’s ferrety nose as he tried to shove past a group of nervous looking freshmen. It might have been looking at me and Harper, but its owner was doing everything possible to ignore us, the planter box we were sitting on, and anything else that might have been east of the wrought iron gate.
“So,” Harper continued, louder than necessary considering we were sitting two inches apart. “I thought I’d get a head start. But now I’m afraid that we were supposed to memorize the poems for Cline. He never responded to my emails.”
Pushing my comic aside, I braced my hands against the brick ledge. The mustache was daring me to say something. Harper could hear it too, as evidenced by her staring up at the sun and muttering, “Or you could, you know, not do this.”
“Hey, West,” I called, ignoring the clucks of protest coming from my left. “I’m pretty sure your milk mustache curdled. Do you need a napkin?”
Ben West lurched to a stop, one foot inside of the gate. Even on the first day of school, he hadn’t managed to find a clean uniform. His polo was a series of baggy wrinkles, half tucked into a pair of dingy khakis. He turned his head. If the mustache had been able to give me the finger, it would have. Instead, it stared back at me with its curlicue fists raised on either side of West’s thin mouth.
“Hey, Harper,” he said. He cut his eyes at me and grumbled, “Trixie.”
I leaned back, offering the slowest of slow claps. “Great job, West. You have correctly named us. I, however, may need to change your mantle. Do you prefer Yosemite Sam or Doc Holliday? I definitely think it should be cowboy related.”
“Isn’t it cruel to make the freshmen walk past you?” he asked me, pushing the ratty brown hair out of his eyes. “Or is it some kind of ritual hazing?”
“Gotta scare them straight.” I gestured to my blonde associate. “Besides, I’ve got Harper to soften the blow. It’s like good cop, bad cop.”
“It is nothing like good cop, bad cop. We’re waiting for Meg,” Harper said, flushing under the smattering of freckles across her cheeks as she turned back to the parking lot, undoubtedly trying to escape to the special place in her head where pop quizzes—and student council vice presidents—lived. She removed her headband, pushing it back in place until she once again looked like Sleeping Beauty in pink glasses and khakis. Whereas I continued to look like I’d slept on my ponytail.
Which I had because it is cruel to start school on a Wednesday.
“Is it heavy?” I asked Ben, waving at his mustache. “Like weight training for your face? Or are you just trying to compensate for your narrow shoulders?”
He gave a half-hearted leer at my polo. “I could ask the same thing of your bra.”
My arms flew automatically to cover my chest, but I seemed to be able to only conjure the consonants of the curses I wanted to hurl at him. In his usual show of bad form, West took this as some sort of victory.
“As you were,” he said, jumping back into the line of uniforms on their way to the main building. He passed too close to Kenneth Pollack, who shoved him hard into the main gate, growling, “Watch it, nerd.”
“School for geniuses, Kenneth,” Harper called. “We’re all nerds.”
Kenneth flipped her off absentmindedly as West brushed himself off and darted past Mike Shepherd into the main building.
“Brute,” Harper said under her breath.
I scuffed the planter box with the heels of my mandatory Mary Janes. “I’m off my game. My brain is still on summer vacation. I totally left myself open to that cheap trick.”
“I was referring to Kenneth, not Ben,” she frowned. “But, yes, you should have known better. Ben’s been using that bra line since fourth grade.”
As a rule, I refused to admit when Harper was right before eight in the morning. It would just lead to a full day of her gloating. I hopped off of the planter and scooped up my messenger bag, shoving my comic inside.
“Come on. I’m over waiting for Meg. She’s undoubtedly choosing hair care over punctuality. Again.”
Harper slid bonelessly to her feet, sighing with enough force to slump her shoulders as she followed me through the front gate and up the stairs. The sunlight refracted against her pale hair every time her neck swiveled to look behind us. Without my massive aviator sunglasses, I was sure I would have been blinded by the glare.
“What’s with you?” I asked, kicking a stray pebble out of the way.
“What? Nothing.” Her head snapped back to attention, knocking her glasses askew. She quickly straightened them with two trembling hands. “Nothing. I was just thinking that maybe senior year might be a good time for you to end your war with Ben. You’d have more time to study and read comics and…”
Unlike the tardy Meg, Harper was tall enough that I could look at her without craning my neck downward. It made it easier to level her with a droll stare. Sometimes, it’s better to save one’s wit and just let the stupidity of a thought do the talking.
She rolled her eyes and clucked again, breezing past me to open the door.
“Or not,” she said, swinging the door open and letting me slip past her. “Year ten of Watson v. West starts now. But if one of you brings up the day he pushed you off the monkey bars, I am taking custody of Meg and we are going to sit with the yearbook staff during lunch.”
“I accept those terms,” I grinned. “Now help me think of historical figures with mustaches. Hitler and Stalin are entirely too obvious. I need to brainstorm before we get homework.”
About the Author
Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.