The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Synopsis: Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines
at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on—and they might not pick the same side.
This charming debut has everything young adult readers are craving right now: edgy, smart writing; a strong, intelligent female lead; a diverse cast of characters; and a fiery, rivals-to-relationship, root-for-them-til-the-very-end romance that will have readers glued to the page.
Praise for The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson:
“There’s a lot to enjoy in debut novelist Anderson’s geek-positive update of Much Ado About Nothing, including intense comic book fandom, a cheating scandal, student council drama, themed dances, and two central characters engaged in an epic love-hate relationship. Readers familiar with the Shakespeare will enjoy Anderson’s riffs on the original’s plot points as Trixie and Ben get their nerdily-ever-after ending.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is the kind of book that would get lost with you in a comic book shop. It would stay up late with you for a midnight release movie. It would let you practice your moves in a fighting game, before things got started. Basically, this book is the geeky best friend you’ve always wanted. A hilarious, heartfelt book that treats pop culture and Shakespeare with the same reverence and adoration, The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You a perfect geeky read that I wish I’d had in high school. If you could rate books on a scale of comic book conditions, this book would be MINT.” —Eric Smith, blogger and author of The Geek’s Guide to Dating
“This was a super fun retelling of Much Ado! I absolutely loved the voice in this book and the banter was A+++++.” —Ashley Herring Blake, author of Suffer Love
“I raced through the arc of this fast paced, smart, funny high school mystery inspired by Much Ado About Nothing! Trixie Watson’s senior year at her high school for the gifted and talented goes wildly awry. First, her lifelong nemesis has a surprising change of heart about her and second, a cheating scandal involves one of her closest friends. Trixie’s evolving
romance was pitch perfect and the mystery of the cheating kept me hooked until the last page. This is a sweet, intelligent and clever story. The dialogue is phenomenal! Highly, highly recommend!” —Karen Fortunati, author of The Weight of Zero
“I loved The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You. It’s not only fun and witty—it’s also generous and big-hearted. And as a bonus, it’s thoroughly appreciated of fandom culture AND has good parental relationships.” —Jennifer Mason-Black, author of Devil and the Bluebird
About the Author and Q & A
Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up? What did you like to do when you were a child?
I’m Lily Anderson. I’m 27, a Sagittarius who only kind of believes in astrology, and an elementary school librarian. I currently live just outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, but I grew up farther north in California in a town called Vacaville (which is known for the Nut Tree roadside attraction and the Zodiac Killer). When I was a kid, my entire life revolved around books and musical theater. Musicals were my first fandom, so if I wasn’t reading, I was probably listening to Broadway cast albums, watching bootleg performances, or in rehearsal at my youth theater and being a real snob about the whole thing.
What helps you write?
I love writing to music. Before I start a new manuscript, I build a writing playlist of songs that have the same tone that I want the book to capture. The playlists are usually absurdly long—THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU’s was 10 hours long so that I wouldn’t repeat songs, even if I wrote in a three hour sprint. Otherwise, I need a beverage (coffee, water, or something more grown up) and a comfortable chair.
How do you avoid distractions while writing?
I have to log out of my Twitter before I start a writing sprint otherwise I’ll never stop chatting! If I’m writing in public, I use a white noise app (shout out to Noisli!) so that I don’t get distracted by outside sounds. Or I’ll keep my music up dangerously loud.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love the part of writing where I know I need to stop working on a scene—to go to bed or to eat or whatever—and I can’t bear to tear myself away because the words are flowing so easily and I’m having so much fun. I also love when my beta readers or my agent text me quotes that made them laugh. Writing jokes is hard, so it’s always great to know when they land!
What inspired you to write The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You?
There was a perfect storm of inspiration for this book. First of all, I wondered (aloud, on Twitter) why my favorite romance novelist, Eloisa James, hadn’t tackled a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing since she her day job is as a Shakespeare professor. Much Ado is my favorite play and I had never read a retelling of it. The second bit of inspiration came from my students. I had just started working at a huge elementary school and so many of my students were into things that we would call geeky—like Marvel movies or Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars. But to them, it was just pop culture. It was what was printed on their backpacks and binders and pencils. And I started to wonder what it would be like to be in their generation, when opening loving “nerdy” things didn’t really make you a nerd anymore.
Poof! Much Ado About Nothing + fandom = The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You.
Were there any plot twists while writing your novel?
Since the book is a retelling, I pretty much knew what was going to happen when I went in. But I didn’t want it to be too boring for anyone who was familiar with Much Ado About Nothing, so I added in a mystery! I wanted to make sure that the villain wasn’t too obvious. There are lots of red herrings as to who is actually the antagonist of the book. And the person who it is in the finished version is not who I originally intended. About seventy five percent of the way into the first draft of the book, I changed my mind and rewrote the entire mystery subplot to change the culprit. (I can’t say anything else without totally spoiling the ending!)
Which character was your favorite and why?
My favorite character changes basically whenever I think about the book. Right now, it’s Meg because she sees the world so differently than her friends and is at once so logical and so sunny.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to cook and bake. I crochet and quilt and drink a lot of tea. Basically, if you can picture a storybook witch or a Victorian-era spinster doing it, I’m probably all about it. Otherwise, I’m trying new beers and hanging out with my baby nephew (although never at the same time).
What are some of your favorite books?
I’m going to stick to a top five because otherwise we’ll be here all day. (I am a librarian, you know):
1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
4. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
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