Review: Me, Myself, And Him by Chris Tebbetts
- Genre: YA contemporary/speculative fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: July 9, 2019
Perfect for fans of Becky Albertali’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and A. S. King’s Still Life with Tornado, this story of parallel time lines cleverly explores how our choices can change and shape us–as well as the ways in which choices don’t change the core of our being at all.
When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.
Or . . . not.
In an alternate time line, Chris’s parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal–until it doesn’t. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel, and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn’t even exist?
With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture.Goodreads
Disclaimer: I recieved an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley.
Me, Myself, & Him is a fairly quick read about a premise you’ve probably seen before: a major event happens (in this case, Chris does whippets) that could have very different possible outcomes (telling the truth and being forced to spend the summer with his dad, or lying and keeping things the same except for paranoia about the truth getting out), and then we see this play out in parallel storylines that dovetail nicely. (Or am I the only one who loves the Broadway musical If/Then?) This isn’t necessarily a criticism–it’s just the best way to explain the book. The flipping between storylines can be engaging as a reader–you are left on a cliffhanger and then have to read another chapter before you get a resolution, during which you reach another cliffhanger–or you can put the book aside and dread reading the storyline you aren’t enjoying as much. For me, I found the book short enough that after it got going I was quite invested in both storylines.
That said, the thing about the parallel universes is sometimes the parallels are a little too coincidental, and this book has plenty of wink-wink moments, which didn’t exactly add depth to the concept. Later on, though, it raised the stakes and got more imaginative. It became less cheesy and more beautiful. Everything came together well.
I wish I knew a little more about Chris’s life pre-incident, particularly with his friends, because at the beginning it was difficult to understand exactly why he felt his relationship with his best friends was changing–I didn’t know completely it was like before to fully empathize. Still, some of the secondary characters were more fleshed out than I expected, and I liked the theme of finding out more about people you think you know. It captured that in-between feeling between high school and college very well.
I also loved Chris’s voice. The formatting gets creative with charts and concept maps to illustrate his thought processes, which I found quite relatable and worked well even in the Kindle ARC formatting. Meanwhile, there’s a great therapy session, which I always welcome in YA. I also loved that Chris was just casually gay, and even though the romance in one of the parallel stories was convenient, it was sweet.
Overall, Me, Myself & Him might not live up to its comparison titles in my mind, but it was still an enjoyable read with plenty of interesting and creative moments I don’t see often in YA.