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The Truth is Out There

Things were just fine for Weird Girl and What's His Name until they both realized they each needed something that the other couldn't provide. But they'll always have their X-Files fan fiction.

The Truth is Out There

BOOK REPORT for Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers

Cover Story: My God, It's Full of Stars
Drinking Buddy: Logs On
Testosterone/Estrogen Level: It's Complicated
Talky Talk: That German Expression For a Story About a Young Person Becoming an Adult
Bonus Factors: The X-Files, LGBTQ
Bromance Status: Virtual Friend

Cover Story: My God, It's Full of Stars

I'm not sure I would have made the cover so stark white, but the spooky stars in the girl's head are very eye-catching. The back cover has a similar silhouette of the boy's head.

The Deal:

Rory and Lulu are that weird couple in every high school. Shy, overweight Rory, and weird, theatrical Lulu. But what do they care what these North Carolina losers think about them? They're totally BFFs! They share a love of sci fi, books, and fan fiction. They're totally the perfect couple. Well, Rory's gay, so that kind of puts a crimp in one aspect. But they've both had a hard time in life: neither knows their father. Lulu's mother abandoned her and she lives with her grandparents. Rory's mother is an increasingly unstable alcoholic. It's not often that you can bond with someone like this.

Until things begin to change. Rory starts shedding pounds. Becoming interested in sports. And...having an affair with a middle-aged man, something Lulu discovers by accident. Disgusted with this new boy her former friend has changed into, Lulu runs away from home, hoping to track down her actress mother and maybe start a new life on her own.

Told in alternating POVs, we watch two kids try to make some sense out of life.

Drinking Buddy: Logs On

I couldn't see myself hanging out with either Lulu or Rory. For starters, I'd feel like a total third wheel. I think we'd end up having a virtual friendship, where I could debate them for hours about the minutiae of a TV series (as they do in this book), but then shut off my computer when they get on my nerves.

Hey, did you ever stop and think that The Flintstones doesn't take place in the past, but in the future? I've got this theory, you see...

Testosterone/Estrogen Level: It's Complicated

How many times have we ever thought that we could just live happily ever after with that special someone, if it weren't for some ugly fact standing in the way? If only she liked guys. If only she wasn't dating my roommate. If only she wasn't the redheaded star of Sixteen Candles. Then it could all work out.

Rory and Lulu are both like this. Lulu, despite knowing better, is totally crushing on Rory. Even though she knows they'll never hook up, she kind of feels betrayed when he's suddenly on the football team, hanging out with jocks instead of with her. Rory, who knows that his secret lover could wind up in jail if word of their affair ever got out, waits for the magical day when he turns eighteen and they can proclaim their love to the world and get married. Because that's why men secretly date teenagers. And when Lulu finally tracks down her Mom, she just knows she's going to be the talented, mysterious actress that she's always pictured. No way she'll be a crushing disappointment in real life. No way.

It's all part of growing up, kids. But that doesn't make it hurt less.

Talky Talk: That German Expression For a Story About a Young Person Becoming an Adult

I swear to God there's a term for that, and it starts with a B. But I may just be imagining things.

At any rate, that term (if it exists), pretty much sums up the book. Of course none of this works out they way Lulu and Rory deserve. Life is hard. Life is unfair. But in the end we scoop our clothes off the front sidewalk, straighten up, and face the future.

I liked these characters enough that I hoped maybe there would be a happy ending in store for them. And there is a happy ending...but they still have to find it. With the help of each other. And Mulder and Scully, of course.

Bonus Factor: The X-Files

So Rory and Lulu are total nerds for The X-Files, writing fan fiction, debating the other geeks online, and binge-watching the series. Of course for Rory, the show means something else. He has this childish fantasy that one day Agent Mulder will show up and reveal himself to be Rory's true father, who was forced to abandon Rory to keep him safe. He knows it's foolish, but still...This is a sweet part of the book. How many of us haven't fantasized ourselves as a character in a book, movie, or TV series when things got rough? It's nice to know I'm not the only one who mentally wrote themselves into a television show.

Brian...I am your father.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ

Rory is another great LGBTQ teen, whose gayness does not define him as a person. Yes, he has to deal with coming out, his ill-advised relationship with an older man, and deciding who he is, but this book is just as much about Lulu and friendship and Cigarette Smoking Man.

Bromance Status: Virtual Friend

Not sure I would hang out with this book constantly, but I look forward to buying the ebook and debating whether our two favorite agents should get together or not (cue theme song).

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Three Rooms Press, on a grassy knoll in Area 51 from a Man in Black. No money though.

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.