Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: 14 and up
Received From: Author/Publicist (Thanks!)
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 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.
Holly slept with Paul, a guy she barely knows. Thing is, Paul has a girlfriend, Saskia. Holly doesn't think this is going anywhere, but Paul continues to pursue her. Along the way Holly and Saskia becomes friends, and Holly must juggle both sides of the relationship. When things take a turn for the worse, Holly realizes just how nice it is to have a friend like Saskia and just how easily that friendship can be ruined.
One quick note, I totally don't believe the whole After her mom died, Holly needed someone to connect with. No, she cheated with Paul because she wanted to, not because she needed to. It was her choice and she has to deal with the consequences. I did enjoy reading about her friendship with Saskia, who was a really great character. It was so sad because Saskia seemed like a great person, yet she had no idea the entire time what was really going on. She was probably my favorite character, and I couldn't help but feel for her. It was interesting to see how Holly managed her friendship with Saskia, all while messing around with Paul. It set up perfectly for a big fall out.
I was initially drawn to this book because of the premise. I wanted things to go wrong, and I wanted to see how Holly would deal with the mess she created for herself. That all happened, but it wasn't as dramatic as I thought it would be. I was a little upset by that. When things went wrong, I wanted them to go really wrong. I wanted fights and yelling and the whole shebang, but you never really get that. There's the silent treatment and all, but other than that, things just fizzle out.
I found that the characters, other than Saskia, fell flat. Holly was hard to relate to and Paul was just there. I never liked Paul, maybe because of the way to book started, with a meaningless connection between Holly and Paul. Holly, however, made him seem irresistible, but to me he just seemed like a cheater. Maybe if Paul had been explained more, or if the relationship wasn't so quick, I would have been able to see why he was so desirable.
The novel had an interesting premise, but its execution just wasn't all there. I enjoyed the book, but it didn't have that "wow" factor that I feel it could've had.
Overall: Interesting premise. Good secondary character. Flat main characters.
My Advice: I suggest picking this up at the library, because not everyone will enjoy it. I do believe, however, that people can get some lessons out of it and I recommend it for that reason.
Cover: This is one of the reasons I was drawn to the book. I love the title font and the entire design. It's simple and fits the story well. The front image reminds me of Holly, nailed to a wall with nowhere to go. She's totally stuck. Great cover.