Cover of You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume. A white female hand reaches for a masculine hand made of clay.

About the Book

Title: You Were Made For Me
Published: 2022

Cover Story: All Hands on Deck
Drinking Buddy: Meh
MPAA Rating: PG (alcohol use, some crude humor, literary nudity)
Talky Talk: Let Me Count the Ways
Bonus Factors: Frankenstein
Bromance Status: You Lost Me at the End

Cover Story: All Hands on Deck

I wondered why they made Guy’s hand such an odd shade of orange until I noticed the lumps and realized he was still in clay golem form.

The Deal:

Katie is an awkward Australian teenager who is mercilessly teased by bullies and has never kissed a boy. One day, after an especially humiliating event involving a soccer ball to the face, she and her friend Libby sculpt a little man out of clay, Katie’s ideal boyfriend: tall, blonde, and with the looks of a Hemsworth brother. And Libby jokingly concocts a little potion in the kitchen to give him a ‘soul.’ All fine and good. And maybe Katie, feeling especially lonely that night, gives the little dude a kiss.

That night, she wakes up with a strange naked boy in her room. After some initial terror, she realizes that her statue has come to life. Her ideal man, with the body of a Greek god, a charming, innocent personality, and utter devotion to her. She’s literally created the perfect boyfriend out of thin air.

Of course, there are complications. Where will he stay? What will he wear? Will their first kiss be as magical as she always dreamed? Katie, with occasional interjections from her friend Libby, tells how they became the parents of a gorgeous seventeen-year-old boy.

Drinking Buddy: Meh

Two pints of beer cheersing with a "Denied" stamp over them

I’ve reviewed over 300 books for FYA, and while I remember plots, most of the characters kind of blend together. And I know Katie will soon go that route. The nerdy, awkward, artist type that I’ve seen in dozens of books. A nice girl, but ultimately, not a memorable one.

MPAA Rating: PG (alcohol use, some crude humor, literary nudity)

The author gives credit to the great film Weird Science as an inspiration. But since this is a gender-flipped version, Katie’s first thoughts are not naughty. And Guy (she names him ‘Guy’, how cute is that?) is only concerned with giving Katie joy. She is his world, his life, his literal reason for existing. He’ll hide under her bed all night, he’ll dress how she says, he’ll go where he’s told. He lives to make Katie happy.

So why isn’t she? Why does she still fantasize about school hottie Declan Bell Jones (and that is all she ever calls him. Not Declan. Declan Bell Jones. Every. Single. Time). And why does Theo, her neighbor and best friend since childhood, seem so put out about this new guy, especially when Katie asks Theo to let Guy move in with him?

Talky Talk: Let Me Count the Ways

It could have worked. It really could have. But the characters just fell flat. Guy is someone with no history, no past, no identity. Every meal he eats is ‘the best thing I’ve ever tasted!’ Every experience is a new one. He and Katie have this odd Mork and Mindy relationship.

Katie is the target of relentless bullying, but she has so many friends that I lost track of them (except for Libby and Theo, they were pretty interchangeable). Every boy she meets seems to fall for her. I just didn’t get where all the hate was coming from.

Speaking of which, Katie is bullied by her family, but the author plays it off as cute. When Katie’s glasses are broken by an errant soccer ball, her mother tells her she’ll have to pay for them herself. “That’ll teach you to keep your head away from soccer balls.” Ha ha ha. When her brother, Luke, catches her with Guy, he immediately runs and tells his parents. Not because he’s concerned about his sister, her safety, and this stranger’s intentions. He just wants to get her in trouble. He sits there and watches as her parents lay into Katie, and is genuinely offended when they don’t punish her. Then she’s forced to introduce Guy to her wacky extended family, who go into full sitcom mode with probing questions. Grandma just talked about sex! How zany is that?

Meanwhile, it’s completely obvious to the reader that tubby, awkward Theo is madly in love with Katie, and is dying trying to compete with both Guy and Declan Bell Jones, who is also completely in love with Katie. Hell, for a while I thought Theo’s gay friend Alex was going to switch teams, just to jump on the Katie ‘I’m too hideous to live’ bandwagon.

Bonus Factors: Frankenstein

Cover of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, featuring the Hollywood-style monster

So Katie and Libby have created life. Was it because of the modeling clay Theo bought at the thrift store? Or Libby’s chemical concoction? Katie’s kiss? A combination? Libby, during her interjections, wonders about this, and the ethics involved. Katie does not. So does Guy have a soul? He does start to develop a personality, making friends with Theo despite himself and admitting to feeling lonely and used sometimes. And Guy turned out to be exactly like Katie wished him to be. So could she create, say, human organs for transplants? A clone of Theo’s mother who passed from cancer?

Nah. Just the cute boy.

Bromance Status: You Lost Me at the End

The ending sucked donkey balls.

SPOILERS

She ends up with Theo, her best male buddy, of course. But in a 328 page book, we get the first hint of romance as an afterthought on page 306. No budding sexual tension. No ‘why can’t Guy be more like…I dunno…Theo?’ Just Theo’s hopeless pining and her mother’s ‘I always thought you and your fat friend would make a good couple.’ Personally, I was rooting for Theo to hook up with some girl who appreciated him.

Declan Bell Jones was a completely unnecessary character. Every one of his scenes should have been Theo.

And what happens to an incubus once you no longer need him? Hell if I know, the author didn’t feel the need to explain. At least in Weird Science we got to see Lisa tormenting those guys at the gym.

Literary Matchmaking

The Immortal Von B.

The Immortal Von B by M. Scott Carter has pretty much the exact same plot.

Man Made Boy (Man Made Boy #1)

Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron also deals with a synthetic boyfriend.

Cast No Shadow

Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa’s Cast No Shadow deals with a meet cute with a ghost.

FCC full disclosure: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher, but no money. Also, when I contact publishers I usually use the title of the book I’m requesting as the subject line, which I’m sure startled some publicist.

Brian 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.