Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Both of MeBoth of Me by Jonathan Friesen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click on the title to find the book description/blurb.)

I, too, had fallen through the cracks, as surely a resident of Salem as Elias was himself, and I didn’t want to return.
Maybe this was home.

I think it says something when a reader–me, in this case–can feel rather lost through most of a piece of young adult fiction and still be intrigued, moved, and even at times, floored by it. Floored, but not stumped, I should add. Wandering, teenaged Clara’s journey with alternately paranoid and sweet, teenaged Elias is something of a whirlwind with the makings of a wild goose chase, except, on account of Elias’s strange zeal for his envisioned world of Salem, one can’t help but to think there has to be a real destination to this chase–real and attainable.

Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen is a compelling narrative of love, hatred, grief, unusual-but-kindred souls, and self-realization. “Who doesn’t have a struggling half and a loving half?” And how do we live with the divergent parts of ourselves?

I had to put on my British-thinking cap to follow Clara’s distinctive narration, which isn’t a bad thing. Her allusions to her hidden motive in reference to Elias seem repetitive in the middle, but the drive toward the ending and the poignant finish more than make up for that.

In all, an enigmatic, trying, beautiful novel.

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