Ever since Rosa’s nerve disease rendered her quadriplegic, she’s depended on her handsome, confident older brother to be her rock and her mirror. But when a doctor from Boston chooses her to be a candidate for an experimental brain transplant, she and her family move from London in search of a miracle. Sylvia—a girl from a small town in Massachusetts—is brain dead, and her parents have agreed to donate her body to give Rosa a new life. But when Rosa wakes from surgery, she can’t help but wonder, with increasing obsession, who Sylvia was and what her life was like. Her fascination with her new body and her desire to understand Sylvia prompt a road trip based on self-discovery… and a surprising new romance. But will Rosa be able to solve the dilemma of her identity?
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be published September 5th, 2017, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
I’m beginning to think that certain books fall on trope spectrums. In this case, it’s the teen(s) with illness in a closed-off setting trope. On one end, you’ve got the popular, well-known ones where the disease is just a setting (Everything, Everything). Somewhere around the middle, you’ve got the funny, cute, accessible book that balances out the medical portions with the romance (Under Rose-Tainted Skies). And then nearing the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve got books that focus solely on the problem in a way that’s emotional, poignant, and heartbreaking (Paperweight).
She, Myself, and I falls somewhere between Everything, Everything and Under Rose-Tainted Skies.
The book focuses enough on Rosa’s struggles in a new body and coming-to-terms with herself in order to justify its premise, but it very much mimics the ridiculously cute and (equally ridiculous) thoughtless escapades of Everything, Everything. That actually sounds like something that could be right up my alley, considering that I enjoyed most of those aspects to those books, but She, Myself, and I was different. It took the great parts of all three books and turned them on their heads.
Everything, Everything‘s cuteness became a sorry attempt at banter, Under Rose-Tainted Skies‘ balance made it so that I couldn’t really enjoy any one aspect of the story, and Paperweight‘s seriousness bogged down the relationship parts of the story. The beginning was hard to get into, and the pace remained painfully slow the entire way through.
That, and nothing new was truly brought to the scene except for that Rosa starts the book in one body and ends it in another. The shock value wears off within the first five pages or so.
And I’d seen the Goodreads reviews–I knew that I shouldn’t go into this one expecting something truly remarkable, but I loved the blurb and the cover and decided to give it a shot anyway. Now? No gracias. If you’re in the same situation, trust me, there are much better books to be read. I would recommend any of the above. I think the closest you’d get to this one in terms of feel (except done correctly) would be Paula Stokes’ Girl Against the Universe. 1.5 stars.