Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

Tags: YA, grief, sex


Torn apart by her mother’s recent death, Holly loses her virginity to Paul, one of the most popular guys in school. Holly assumes that once it’s over, she’ll go back to hanging out with her only friend, Nils, the boy-next-door turned “man-slut,” and Paul will go back to his long-term on-and-off girlfriend, Saskia. But suddenly Paul keeps chasing her, and Holly’s actually becoming friends with Saskia, who turns out to be a great girl who doesn’t deserve all this, and suddenly Holly’s in way over her head, dreading the moment when everything will come to a head and fall apart around her.


NOTHING LIKE YOU, Lauren Strasnick’s debut novel, is relatively short, but packs one heck of a punch between its covers. It is a powerful read that will wreck your nerves, put them back together, and wreck them all over again.

Lauren Strasnick’s succinctness with words is still a relatively rare gift in YA lit. Sometimes, less is more, and it certainly is so in Holly’s words: little time is spent dallying over inner monologues, and instead we are thrown right into Holly’s words and have to quickly learn our way around her friends, family history, and romantic problems, otherwise we’ll unhappily sink and miss the point of the book. I like how Lauren’s writing style doesn’t undervalue the reader’s intelligence: we are all capable of figuring out what’s going on, and it is this agency on our part that will make us invest more in Holly’s story. Who says it’s the author who needs to do ALL of the work?

This may be personal preference, but I adore Holly’s character. In particular, I love how relatively upfront she is about her emotional concerns. This is a girl who’s not afraid to express to others how she’s feeling, instead of bottling it all up inside her, so that her problems are constantly evolving and moving forward. It’s a trait that I envy, and so it’s refreshing to read about such a girl in YA lit.

Holly and Nils’ friendship was well done, specifically in that you can practically feel the chemistry crackling between them. In contrast, Paul feels a little underdeveloped. He is definitely a douchebag but I wanted to know why he feels like he needs to behave that way. NOTHING LIKE YOU further defies our expectations of contemporary literature with its unusual ending, which, like every other part of the book, garners its power from its absence of flair for the sake of grabbing attention.

True, Holly’s mother died, and a lot of her behavior is in reaction to her grief, but this is not explicitly a story about dealing with grief, for which I am grateful. Instead, it’s simply an honest and refreshing tale of contemporary emotions. Lauren Strasnick has embedded herself into my heart with her unassuming debut novel, and I have no doubt that she will do the same to others.

Similar Authors
Amy Reed
Courtney Summers

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - I am a sucker for pretty covers, and this is no exception, even though it doesn't really have much to do with the story as far as I'm concerned. But still... pretty! The hardcover (picture left), is very different, but struck me especially because of the textured background. Either one of these covers, along with the synopsis, would've made me pick it up.

Simon Pulse / August 10 / Paperback (reprint) / 209pp. / $8.99

Copy sent for review by author. Thanks, Lauren!


  1. I'm reading this one at the moment and really liking it. :) I love Holly as well. She is so very realistic and easy to understand.

  2. I loved this book and I loved Holly. Thanks for your review of a great book. Since your blog has a lot of readers and hopefully more will read Nothing Like You because of your review.

    P.S. I am a new follower.

  3. Wow, great review! This sounds like a book I'd love!

  4. Wow, great review! i have to order this one.. it sounds as if I'd LOVE it! thank you :)

  5. I like the new cover a whole lot more!

    I wonder if gettin yer sex on is a common way of dealing with grief?

    Either way, Nothing Like You sounds like the type of book I need on my TBR.

  6. I loved this book! I thought it could have been a bit longer to develop the characters more (especially Paul) but it was still really good! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  7. This sounds like it may be a good read-a-thon book. Off to see if my library has it!

  8. Awesome review, Steph. I appreciate it when an author assumes the reader is smart! I'll definitely be on the lookout for this one.

  9. It seems like a lot of young girls could easily relate to this. I will have to be on the lookout for it.


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