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Love Stinks

Kris Dinnison's book You and Me and Him introduces us to a threesome of the most unsexy kind.

Love Stinks

BOOK REPORT for You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison

Cover Story: Primary Colors
Drinking Buddy: A Thousand Times No
Testosterone Level: Meh
Talky Talk: Who Are We Rooting For Again?
Bonus Factor: Indie Records
Bromance Status: Girlfriend's Weird Male Friend

Cover Story: Primary Colors

The brightly colored Venn diagram is certainly eye catching. It's what made me pick it up.

The Deal:

Seventeen-year-old Maggie is a lonely fat girl. The other kids make fun of her, her mother keeps badgering her to lose weight, the sadistic gym teacher delights in torturing her. She's never even been kissed. Fortunately, she has a soul mate in Nash, her flamboyant, out of the closet BBF. Since there are few out and proud gay guys in their small town in Washington State, they're both resigned to a romance-free life. Still, they dream. Every time a new boy comes to school, one of them calls 'dibs,' and fantasizes that he'll be their new boyfriend.

That is until Tom comes to town. Tom, the handsome kid who never stays at one school for long. Tom, the cool kid, but who's just geeky enough to be likeable. Tom, with his good looks and ambiguous sexuality. Tom, who becomes quick friends with both Maggie and Nash.

Nash calls dibs, and Maggie does her best to try to set them up. But as time goes on, it seems that Tom is not interested in Nash. He's interested in Nash's best friend.

Nash will understand, right?

Drinking Buddy (Spoiler Alert): A Thousand Times No

So for a while, Tom's sexuality is up in the air. He tells Maggie about his cheating ex Jamie, in a story utterly devoid of pronouns. But eventually the truth comes out. Tom's straight. Nash will never be more than a friend. Maggie on the other hand...

Tom makes it pretty clear he likes her. They go hiking together, they go on day trips, they share painful memories, they kiss...Fat Maggie has finally found a guy who appreciates her. Someone who realizes what a smart, fun, kind, beautiful girl she is. And since Nash never stood a chance, he should be glad that Maggie has found someone who makes her happy.

Nope, Nash goes into full-on theatrical BETRAYED mode. He called dibs, after all. Maggie should have stayed away from Tom so Nash could have hopelessly pined about him. Nash announces to the world what a Judas Maggie is, and their friends take his side, agreeing that Maggie is the worst traitor ever for going out with a guy who likes her.

And Maggie somehow thinks she deserves all this! She drops Tom. She literally begs Nash for forgiveness. Her on-and-off thing with Tom sparks a rumor that Tom just liked her because she puts out; now the whole school thinks she's a fat slut. She's nearly sexually assaulted at a party. And she never once thinks 'Hey, maybe I'm the one who's been wronged here!'

Even Tom was kind of a jerk. He clearly likes the idea that Nash is crushing on him. When things get weird with Maggie, he pulls the 'just friends' line. I really did not like any of the three colored circles from the cover.

Testosterone Level: Meh

While there was good chemistry between Maggie and Tom, they never do more than kiss. Maggie's too busy wondering if Nash will approve, after all. The rest of the book is Nash's major poor, poor me snit and Maggie baking cookies for other people.

Talky Talk: Who Are We Rooting For Again?

So we have guy who makes his best friend hate herself, a girl who thinks she deserves this, and another guy who kind of plays the two off each other. It's hard when you don't like one major character, it's impossible when you don't like any of them.

I mean, what's up with this dibs thing? Tom is rightly angry when he finds out. Imagine if the genders were reversed. Picture a couple of guys calling out 'dibs' on the new girls. Creepy, right? Now imagine if one of them actually expected that to be enforced. Jesus.

Bonus Factor: Indie Records

Maggie works at an awesome vintage record store called Square Peg. It's owned by a guy named Quinn, a middle aged homosexual who recognizes Maggie for the wonderful person she is and calls bullshit on Nash's drama. Quinn is the only character I really liked.

Bromance Status: Girlfriend's Weird Male Friend

I don't mind that my girlfriend read you years ago, but that doesn't mean she can't read other books sometimes. Calm down.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.