Review: Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Pub. Date: First published, June 12th 2012; Paperback pub. June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
272 pages

I expected Between You and Me to be a fairly light, summer beach read. It’s not. While there is some humor, the novel and the characters in the novel are not happy. This is a heart wrenching, haunting story that I found powerful and engrossing.

Growing up, cousins Kelsey and Logan Wade were thick as thieves. Fifteen years later, Logan has done the adult thing. Done with college and stuck in an uninspiring job, she’s bored. The last thing Logan expects on her 27th birthday is a call from Kelsey’s mom asking her to LA to visit the recently dumped, and now uber famous, Kelsey. Dropping everything, Logan’s curiosity and need to get out of her tedium, sets an entire train of events in motion. With Logan by her side, Kelsey takes control of her life and career, going for what she wants, and doing what she wants, for the first time. But, when her choices send her life spiraling out of control, the girls have to stick together, or allow Kelsey’s parents to tear them apart, again.

Kelsey Wade is more exposed than a Kardashian. Add in an eventual meltdown and the worst mom/dadager in the world, Between You and Me makes you feel like you’re watching an episode of
True Hollywood Stories. Written in a voyeuristic way, Kelsey’s life is somewhat reminiscent of a soap opera. The novel moves fast, and the storyline can change dramatically in a short amount of time, but we only get snippets of events, similar to snap shots of celebrity life in gossip magazines. No matter how much goes on, and how separate these events are from a life that I personally can relate to, it’s very hard not to be drawn in by the story and the characters. I felt like I went on an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish. I got mad, sad, annoyed and (sporadically) overjoyed, not because the characters were relatable or likeable, but because of how wonderfully they were crafted.

I think this novel does a very good job of pointing out how people have an unrealistic idea about celebrity life. As a culture, we think we know someone, when we probably know nothing at all. It’s the things that the public doesn’t know or understand about Kelsey’s life, from the incredibly long arduous hours, to the relationships behind the scenes, and the intense amount of pressure on her shoulders, that were effectively represented for me. This is not a poor little rich girl story. This is a story of a person who completely falls to pieces because of the world going on around her. After reading, I felt really sad for the Britney’s and Lindsay’s who have had to face ridicule publically for what was going on personally. 

I feel like I haven’t said why I liked this book in tangible way, but more than a month after finishing the novel I truly don’t quite know why I connected and was so drawn in to this story. I just know that I was. To quote Amanda Marshall “everybody’s got a story that could break your heart” and Between You and Me does just that.

Rating 8/10

** I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.

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