book review || Both of Me

 I had heard a few online readers mention had excited they were for this book and the synopsis sounded promising.   It was a young adult novel, but the characters were a bit older; 19 and 18.
I looked forward to reading it and was absolutely excited when my pretty hardback review copy arrived in the mail...
what laid between the two covers, however, couldn't have been more disappointing.

The Synopsis: 


 It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.

When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

The Review: 

 I don't know much about Dissociation Identity Disorder...so this part of my opinion may be taking lightly...but everything about Elias' 'disorder' felt ridiculously fake.
I could barely stomach him, since it felt as if Friesen heard about DID, threw together his own opinion on what it was like and wrote a book.
Sadly, that wasn't even my biggest problem with this book.
I understand that books are not always intended to hold fast to the same laws of reality that we are held to.
Dragons pop through portals in fiction just as frequently as dragons dont pop through portals in our world.
That does not give authors permission, however, to take a book and completely throw everything logical out the window.
Both of Me could have really used some good old fashioned reality to tone down everything that sent me in a continued state of skeptical confusion.

I'm not even kidding when I say that I was convinced for the first 100 pages that this whole book would end with Clara waking up and all the events of the book were nothing more than a dream.
In fact, it went even further and I desperately hoped that that would be the case...because the cheap-order dream trope would be the only thing that could save this mess of a novel.

Lets have a quick run down of everything that prompted that desire:

Every word spilling from Clara's lips felt like the sort of thing that was supposed to be witty and bright...but landed somewhere between 'trying too hard' and 'are you mentally retarded to talk like that?'.
I've never met anyone who talks like Clara talks, and I don't mean that in a complimented way.

"Yes." I licked my lips, my goal only to extract him from his sketchbook.  "I do want your secrets. Every single one - and since we have the time, lets start with your name."
His face tightened. "My name is not a secret. Elias. Elias Phinn"
"Hmm. A perfectly sensible name"
"Now I understand that you're emotional derelicts. You blokes have made that abundantly clear." I looked up to the one on the far end. The follower. "How come you don't speak? How come you always let this beast do the talking?" 
The beast scoffed, "Ugly huh-"
"Oh sod off. Was I speaking to you? Was I looking at you? Do you not have any sense of propriety?"

Its completely fake, like the sort of thing you'd find in a disney channel tv show meant for children (which, don't get me started on how insulting cheap, cheesy and stupid tv shows for children are).

Second off, Clara is this strange girl who turns up on the steps of the inn that Guinevere (Elias' single mother) runs. She is a complete stranger.
So it is only natural that Guinevere trusts her completely with the care and keeping of her mentally unsteady son.  Ah yes, because mothers with disabled children are completely ok with handing off the keys to their car and their only child to a moody teenaged stranger and saying, "here, take him to his therapy, will you?"
this actually happened.
im not even joking.
i wish i was.
Guinevere is completely stupid anyway.

The airplane - do not get me started on the airplane.
*spoiler* they buy an airplane. And strap it the roof of Clara's little car. and drive off the road with it.
happens every day folks.

I'm going to pardon Elias from this next bit, because while he is an 18/19 year old boy, it is hinted that he may have a touch of autism along with his DID.  Having been a nanny to an autistic girl in the past, I find it completely ridiculous to insist that autistic people act like children even when they aren't children but...what the heck, lets roll with it.
But Clara has no mental instabilities or disabilities.
and she acts five.
hold on, I have an example.

"I said," he repeated, "welcome! I'm glad your're here!"
I peeked at the moose, cleared my throat, and stood.  I rounded the table, grabbed Elias' chair with both hands, and yanked. Elias tumbled and I carried the chair to the fireplace wall. 
I climbed on top of the chair and reached for my bag, Three inches. Three inches too short. I tugged at my bag and finally gave a mighty pull.  The entire moose head broke free, falling, narrowly missing my noggin and crashing to the floor.
Nobody moved or spoke as I calmy extracted the strap from the antlers and unzipped the bag.

Clara is a 19/18 year old girl who pulls a chair out from under the mentally disabled son of the woman who is allowing her to stay free of charge at her inn and breaks the woman's moose head decoration (which, for some unexplained reason has Clara's backpack dangling from it's antlers...??) and then Elias calmly stands and remounts the moose head and everything goes back to normal.   And Guinevere never says a word about any of the events that transpire right in front of her. like, literally, shes sitting right in the room. watching.
and she still chooses to push Clara to bring Elias to his therapy.

within thirty pages of the moose-head incident, Elias and Clara are kissing and holding hands. because romance.

also the grammar makes me want to whip out a red pen and spank whoever edited this book before it went to press.

i always try to say something good about a book, even if i completely loathe it (as i do this one).i had to really think good and hard about what good thing there was about Both of Me to be praised and i finally have it....

the concept is an interesting one.

it was just poorly executed, and in the end, the book was completely murdered in how awful it was. 

but a good concept can not save a book that has nothing else going for it and so there is little else to do but rate it.

One Star

For characters that kept me rolling my eyes in disbelief, for a story that knew no reality, for writing and grammar which was sub-par at best and because there was so little to actually appreciate in this book...I can't rationalize giving it anything more.

This review is based on my own opinions; please do not let it affect your own opinion. Just because I did not like the book does not mean you will not like the book. 
I was sent this book for free for the purpose of providing an honest review. 


  1. Sounds awful, thank you for helping me to dodge that bullet.

  2. Ooh great review! Sorry you didn't like this book; it looks like it could have a lot of potential. But I love your use of gifs! See you around the blogosphere! :)

    -Alice @ Arctic Books (arcticbooks.wordpress.com)

  3. Yes. The book was poorly executed.


Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
- Blaise Pascal