Published by Blink on December 23rd 2014
Genres: Depression & Mental Illness, Social Issues, Young Adult
ARC provided by BookSparks
From award winning author, Jonathan Friesen, a contemporary story dealing with mental illness and an unexpected friendship. Elias Phinn copes with his painful reality by slipping into the imaginary realm of Warilia, a world that colors his every waking moment and feels more real than the actual one around him. When his carry-on luggage is switched with that of the beautiful and mysterious Clara, Elias becomes convinced that she is a Warilian diplomat's daughter. But as the two become friends and their carefully constructed worlds begin to crack, Elias must save them both before everything falls apart. Poignant, heartrending, and powerfully real, Both of Me is the latest young adult novel from award-winning author Jonathon Friesen. As it explores themes of friendship, mental illness, and self-discovery, this gripping novel will catch--and keep--the attention of teen readers. Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 and 11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5 and 11-12.5 Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6 and 11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant.
I just finished this book and all I can think is, “What just happened?” I started reading this book, I liked it. I got lost in it’s world. I got confused and lost track. Things got cleared up and then I needed a good cry. There is a lot of imagining in this book. Is it real? No, it is imaginary. Both of Me is about a girl named Clara, and a boy who is split in two. It is an adventure and a journey of imagination and healing.
At first, I thought this was a YA fantasy book. It isn’t. Clara looses her bag on the plane to her neighbor who just happened to have the same exact bag. She follows the tag on her mistaken bag to Elias Phinn, who has a dissociative personality disorder. She can get her bag back, after staying one night so he can switch personalities. One knows about the bag, the other is just along for the ride. One Elias asks her to be a guide on the journey, the other just wants his body back. Clara and Elias (both of them) set out on a quest to find the truth, or to solve the mystery of why Elias is not whole, one.
I was a bit lost in parts of this book. I was frustrated at the lack of answers to questions. I felt I was trudging through this book at some points. It has many places where I was sure we were far off track. The characters don’t have depth to carry this though. Until the last three chapters. The last three chapters answered questions and gave me enough closure to say I liked this book. I wish the journey had more clear directions, but this book took me the long way to an almost sad conclusion.
I am not sure who this book will appeal to. Maybe people like me who believe that everything happens for a reason. Some journeys have forks in the road with players who don’t know how important they are to the direction. If this were an adult fiction, as opposed to a YA book it may have more believability. Because an adult fiction requires more to carry it through. Maybe it is because a teen on a journey can just accept things as they seem to be. As it stands, I can’t give this a wholehearted recommendation without saying that this book touches on the fragility of our minds when faced with tragedy. I liked this story, but I doubt all readers will make it past the fantasy aspects of the characters.
About the Author
Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.