Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Review - Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

Nothing Like You
By Lauren Strasnick
Simon Pulse, 224 pages
Published: October 20th 2009

"You think he's yours but he's not I thought.
"You think he's yours but really he's mine."

When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly...and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly's mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she's getting desperate to feel something, anything -- so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul's kisses are a welcome diversion...and it's nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.

But things aren't so simple with Saskia around. Paul's real girlfriend is willowy and perfect...and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly's choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.

- Goodreads description

1.5 out of 5

After reading other reviews on Goodreads, it appears that I may just be the only person in the world who didn't like this book.

If I was to describe this book in one word, it'd probably be predictable. That's not always a bad thing, but with this book, it wasn't just one thing that you could forsee, it was a lot.

I really wanted to like Nothing Like You, but I can't really feel much for it. Maybe I've been spoiled by the other contemporary YA books I've read recently, but I just found this rather...bland.

This had a lot of potential that I don't feel it lived up to. It could have been something amazing but sadly, for me, it wasn't. It felt like the plot kept getting stuck, so the author just went for the easiest (and unfortunately) most obvious way to move the story along. Also, the end felt like it was lacking in, well, everything to be honest. It didn't feel much like a resolution. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting hearts, flowers & a chorus of birds, but it just seemed far too abrupt. I know it was to drive home the 'actions have consequences' and not everything works out riff, but it just felt like there should've been more after it.

I really can't seem to find anything redeeming to say about Holly. I'm sorry, but I really couldn't connect with her at all. She grated on me pretty much the entire book, I wanted to hit her so many times and tell her to get a grip! More than once I found myself thinking 'seriously?' when she was all 'oh woe is me' over Paul. She's possibly the only fictional female I dislike more than Bella Swan, and if you knew me, you'd know that that's something I never thought I'd see myself type. It wasn't until near the end of the book where I actually felt something for her. It wasn't until that point that she seemed to have any real depth, as opposed to just being a swoony naive little girl.
Describing Paul is quite easy to do. He's a douchebag, pure and simple. At first I thought he might actually be a little bit of a nice guy, but those illusions were quickly shattered. There's not really much else I can say without breaking into a long list of swear words and insults.
Saskia & Nils were actually better characters than Holly & Paul in my opinion. They seemed have more depth, and Nils in particular was just much more likeable.

The one thing I will commend Strasnick for in this book is her approach to the death of Holly's mum. It's never directly broached (we know she died of cancer, but her death is never actual put into any detail like it has been in other YA books) so all we see is the aftermath. Holly isn't treated with kid gloves all the time, like many other grieving characters have been in the past, and she hasn't either gone off the deep end with grief, or become a stoic zombie. She's in the void of confusion inbetween where you're never quite sure what's going to happen. I thought this was very well handled, and it was a refreshing change from the norm.

Sadly however, that wasn't enough to make up for the disappointment I felt with the rest of the book. An ok read if you want to kill time and don't want to think too much, but it won't be going on my 'to recommend' pile


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