Later, we ate Adina’s dinner on the floor of the drained indoor pool. We sat on blankets over pool tiles (p 25).
Her: Adina. Anorexic. Moody. Possessive of her twin brother, Fred. Possibly in love with him.
Me: Alex. Her entrance into a new school becomes complicated when she is befriended by the Bishop twins.
You: Fred. Friendly, enigmatic, and clearly protective of his sister. He befriends Alex.
Her: Evie, Alex’s best friend.
Me: Alex clearly has strong feelings for Evie. Their relationship changes once Alex moves away and Evie has a new boyfriend.
You: Ben, the boyfriend. What does he know about Evie? He dates her for a month and thinks he is in love with her. He can’t possibly know or love her as Alex does.
Her: Caroline. The other woman.
Me: Because of her father’s infidelity, Alex has moved with her mother to Meadow Marsh. Her world is turned up-side-down as everyone she has ever cared for changes.
You: Alex’s mother is a broken woman, unable to cope with the loss of a husband she stills loves, she turns to drinking. Or ‘you’ is Alex’s father. She’s angry with him, obviously, but she would have chosen to live with him if her mother didn’t need her so badly.
Alex beings spending more and more time with Fred as she attempts to make sense of her new life and redefine herself. But Adina runs hot and cold, sometimes undermining Alex and at times, oddly supportive or affectionate. Mix in Alex’s feelings for Evie and the bare-bones narration and you get a lot ambiguity.
Her and Me and You is a quick read, a novel that sucked me in immediately. It helps that Alex, the teen girl in transition, comes across as very real and understandable while also open to new experiences. She isn’t too judgemental but rather compassionate.
She’s at a point in her life when she is on her own for the first time, friendless, and capable of forging her own path. She also senses she must live else her best friend will move on without her (without the recklessness that so many YA characters rush headlong into). I appreciated that Alex had a strong moral compass and that she wore her emotions on her sleeve. She kind of reminds me of me at that age!
Adina is also one of the more realistically portrayed anorexic characters in YA lit. She’s not in your face (a la Wintergirls – bleck!), but through little things Alex notices, we see how she treats food. Her mental state is all over the place, but ultimately, self-serving behavior wins out.