Book Review: “Between You and Me”

I’ve followed Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus for a decade now, ever since they burst onto the scene with the bestselling domestic tell-all The Nanny Diaries. Their follow-up, Citizen Girl, was also excellent, with a feminist protagonist struggling to stay employed while maintaining her values. I feel they’ve lost their edge in recent years, with books ranging from fair-to-middlin’ (The Real Real) to forgettable (Dedication) to freakng terrible (Nanny Returns. Shudder). However, when I saw their latest on NetGalley, I couldn’t resist giving the duo another shot. Here’s what I thought of Between You and Me.

Image: goodreads.com

The plot: Logan Wade is lost. She’s in her late twenties, working a soul-sucking desk job and has friends and lovers with wavering loyalty in New York City. On the other side of the country, Logan’s cousin and childhood best friend Kelsey is a worldwide sensation and pop-star sexpot. Too bad they haven’t spoken in years. On the night of Logan’s twenty-seventh birthday, her cousin and Kelsey’s personal assistant Delia offers to fly Logan out to LA for a reunion. Logan finds herself in a new job and new life, but childhood drama, family trauma and the growing complexities and issues of Kelsey herself are about to rear their ugly heads.

As they did with Nanny Diaries and Citizen Girl, McLaughlin and Kraus show their ability to tell a story. That said, they’re not the best writers. What bothered me most about Between You and Me was the location-jumping: the reader goes from a European stage to a hotel room to an airplane without any transition whatsoever. It can get very jarring and confusing. Also, the authors attempt to cram a lot of plot into the pages: major events and revelations occur at a breakneck pace. Finally, characters such as Logan’s mother (who goes from being clueless and devoted to sanctimonious and shaming) are so inconsistent that it appears the authors were making up their minds as they went along.

That said, Between You and Me is a fast, mostly fun read with ripped-from-the-headlines drama and some truly touching aspects, such as Logan and Kelsey’s loving, supportive relationship. Don’t pay full price, but get it from the library or read it in a bookstore (I didn’t tell you to do that).

Between You and Me is now available in hardcover and ebook.

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The Unprofessional Critic

Lauren Whalen is a freelance writer living in Chicago. She reviews plays for Chicago Theater Beat (http://www.chicagotheaterbeat.com) and talks about movies on The Film Yap (http://www.thefilmyap.com). Lauren's young adult novel is represented by Chalberg & Sussman Literary Agency. Say hi to her at maybeimamazed02(at)gmail(dot)com. (Photo by Greg Inda)

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