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Both of Me
     

Both of Me

3.4 8
by Jonathan Friesen
 

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It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.

When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias

Overview

It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.

When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Believing she caused a family tragedy (AKA her Great Undoing), 18-year-old Clara bolted from her London home. She has since been traveling the world using her father’s journal as a guide. On a flight to Minneapolis, she meets Elias, who eerily seems to know everything about her. Discovering that their bags were switched, she locates his home and discovers two Eliases. He suffers from DID---Disassociative Identity Disorder---and swings from sweet Elias to the Other One, who lives in the imaginary world of Salem. Troubled by her past and about Elias' condition, Clara has as much difficulty finding her footing as does Elias about his lost spans of time. Nevertheless, determined to help good Elias overcome the Other One, Clara nevertheless takes him on a journey to find and destroy a mysterious being Elias calls “the Keeper.” They follow the stars, interpret myths, and utilize Clara's journal only to end up at a lighthouse on the coast of Maine, where they meet someone who knows the truth. Part Alice in Wonderland, part roleplaying game, and all weird road-trip adventure, Friesen's storytelling is laser-beam sharp, making the characters (and the readers) teeter as if on a warped balance beam. The concept of DID will fascinate readers as will the semi-otherworldly adventure.
--- Jeanne Fredriksen
--- STARED BOOKLIST REVIEW
Miss Literati (part of Bauer Teen’s Bop and Tiger Beat magazines network)
BOTH OF ME by Jonathan Friesen is unlike any other story. With its unique premise, scenes that will make you laugh out loud one minute and then totally break your heart once you turn the page, this is one book that is just going to stick with you.
BOTH OF ME tells the story of Clara, a girl from London who runs away from her family obligations in search of a life filled with adventure. She carries her father’s journal, which documents his crazy travel experience from before she was born, and uses that as her guide around the globe. Clara knows not to get emotionally attached to anyone (especially boys) since she has proven to herself that anyone she loves ends up hurt by her actions.
On a flight, she sits next to a boy named Elias. He is totally cute, but super strange. He speaks to Clara about things she had no idea about until she notices a drawing in her sketchbook that looks just like her dead mother. Intrigued by this guy and how he knows about her life, Clara tries talking to him, but he resists any interaction with her. Once they’re both off the plane, Clara realizes someone took her bag and the one she has belongs to the boy she say next to, Elias.
Clara goes to Elias’ home to trade her bag back and she sees that he lives in the bed and breakfast his mother owns. Elias, though, has no recollection of meeting Clara and this time she meets the side of Elias that is sweet, charming and could be the guy who steals her heart. Elias’ mom tells Clara that Elias suffers from a type of multiple personality disorder and when the Other One makes his way to the surface, the real Elias disappears and never remembers what he does as this other personality. The other side of Elias is all about going on a mission to save the fictional world of Salem he thinks he lives in and to destroy the evil Lightkeeper.
Clara decides it’s her duty to help the Elias she cares about figure out what made this other side to him appear when he was eight years old and to find out what he know
Midwest Book Review
“A riveting novel of complex storytelling and deftly crafted character dialogues, 'Both Of Me' is a thoroughly entertaining read that is very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library collections. Simply stated, Jonathan Friesen is a compellingly gifted novelist who will leave his readers looking eagerly toward his next literary effort.'
Kirkus Reviews
2014-10-01
A girl with a mysterious past embarks on a journey across America to save a friend and find herself. Haunted by a family tragedy she feels responsible for, 18-year-old Clara has traveled the world but can't leave her past behind. This seems especially true when, on a flight to Minneapolis, she sits next to "an interesting bloke" named Elias Phinn, who seems to know her life, including details of the tragedy—her Great Undoing—she has never revealed to anyone. Clara follows Elias to his home, an inn "populated with the mad and deranged." It turns out that Elias is suffering from dissociative identity disorder: There are two Eliases, the "real," lucid one and the mentally ill one inhabiting an imaginary world that he calls Salem—and the paranoid one seems to be taking over, unless "normal" Elias can figure out how to destroy the evil that comes from a mysterious "Keeper" at a lighthouse. Friesen's writing is at times stunning, neatly adept at capturing the "terror of loose footing" that affects both Elias and Clara and creating an unease in readers as well. The sheer weirdness of Elias' alternative world will intrigue readers, and after Elias and Clara's phantasmagoric road trip following stars and myths, those readers will appreciate a grizzled old Mainer's matter-of-fact story that neatly explains everything. A haunting tale for teens with a taste for the bizarre. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310731887
Publisher:
Blink
Publication date:
12/23/2014
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Both of Me


By Jonathan Friesen

BLINK

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Friesen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-73187-0


CHAPTER 1

The accent. Tell me where you're from." The young fool crumpled his McDonald's bag and leaned over the table. "I could listen to that all day."

I took aim and lobbed a chip at his nose. It bounced off his eyelid, and still he smiled. Quite the idiot. "It's the little things you miss, really. Little, like chips and a shake. Nepal had neither." I stuffed my mouth and eased back. "Is it cold in here? I'm thinner than when I left home, and it seems I'm always cold." I glanced around the terminal—after eight months and hundreds of layovers, they all looked the same. Even the faces blurred. Travelers, different only in age and size. Their voices long ago faded to white noise.

They drifted by me harmlessly, like so many clouds ...

Then he walked by, and my gaze fixed on him.

He walked between his 'rents. His proud dad. His watchful mum, eyes darting for lanes through the bustle.

The child carried a little Superman bag, and from the look on his face, he was happy. So happy he didn't notice the stuffed bear poking out his bag's zip. So happy he didn't notice the bear fall.

"One minute." I grabbed my own bag, jumped up, and joined the fray, weaving through the crowd. I reached the fallen bear, and a well-dressed loser distracted by his mobile stepped on the toy. I shoved him, and he stumbled and cursed, but he no longer existed to me. I bent down and gently picked up the loved animal, with its patchy fur and one eye.

Little T owned a bear like this.

I pushed forward. Toward the boy. He would want this, need this. I reached the family and placed my hand on Mum's shoulder. She reached for her son's hand and spun around.

"Yes?"

"Your son. He dropped his bear."

The boy's smile widened, and I swallowed hard.

"This nice young lady found Pooh!" Mum knelt beside him, rounding his shoulder with her arm. "What do you say?"

He said nothing, but rather reached out his hands, and I placed the bear inside them. He squeezed the bear and I wanted to squeeze the boy. His almond-shaped eyes, the muted features. He had Down syndrome, and he was perfect.

I backed up slowly. "I just wanted to reunite the two of you. I once had a brother who loved a bear like yours." I turned and walked slowly back toward my new mate. A hundred nobodies parted around me.

Reaching the table, I slumped down into my seat and stroked the tiny number 3 tattooed between my left thumb and pointer.

"What was that about?"

I shook my head. The little boy had looked happy.

"Now, then. What were you saying? Oh, yes. London," I said quietly, glancing at the bloke across the table. "Born in London. Seems forever ago."

"Clara, it's been almost a year, right? I know we just met, so you can take this or leave it, but, nobody wanders forever. You've got to go home sometime."

I leaned back, and stared upward. "I know a man who never did. He was brilliant. His 'rents put him through university, and he became the most sought-after architect in his class. He had job offers across the United States. But one month before graduation, he packed his bags, left school, left his family and his country. He never went back. He wandered the world digging wells for the poor, building hospitals, churches. I carry a record of his route."

"So you're following in this guy's footsteps."

"No." I took a deep breath. "I don't dig. I don't build, and I will not rot penniless in prison. But his path keeps me safe. People remember him, help me on my way." I scooted nearer. "Have you ever followed what you're running from?"

"Last call, Flight 302 departing for Minneapolis."

"That's me." I rose, reached down, and gathered my bag. "Thanks for the meal. It has earned you a place in my diary, though I've quite forgotten your name. How would you like to be remembered?"

Young fool jumped up and grabbed my wrist. "Take the next flight, Clara. Let me show you New York City. Honest, if you'd just get to know me ..."

I pried loose his fingers, and patted his cheek. "We've already met. In Paris and Pakistan and Brazil. Accommodating lads like you are everywhere. If there's one thing I've learned these last eight months, it's this ... involvements equal pain." My voice fell. "Not that I've always remembered the equation."

I hoisted the strap over my shoulder. "And I've a mate waiting on the far end of this flight."

The last passengers boarded, and I sauntered toward the gate agent. She left her desk and moved toward the gate door. I raised my ticket high.

I would not jog. I would not shout. Those actions belonged to the responsible, to those who cared. The memory of my first flight returned and tugged at the corners of my lips. How early I had arrived. For five hours, I sat nervously inside Heathrow, checking and rechecking my flight's status. But that was before. Before the world reminded me there was always another plane, and revealed to me the wild joys of plan B, the spontaneous path the punctual never travel.

I peeked over my shoulder, blew a kiss to the young fool still watching from a distance.

He would certainly take me in if the agent would not.

She gave a final glance about the gate and our eyes met. She beckoned wildly.

"You on this flight? Get a move on, girl. You came mighty close to missin' the plane."

"Yes, I suppose I did."

She swiped my ticket and I wandered into the tunnel. Tunnels were the Great In-Between. Tucked between the leaving and the arriving, these bridges, these portals, existed on every continent. Inside, I always pictured myself back in London, slogging toward a bus. The same bus. Stuck in the middle.

I hated tunnels, but they were a necessary evil.

Planes—now, they were different. They held mystery and promise, and over the course of my Third World travels, a chicken or two. They also held the very real possibility of death.

I ducked inside and paused in first class, surveying my travel mates. The red-eye from New York to Minneapolis held nothing but the comatose. Self-satisfied businessmen, ties loosened and shirts untucked, returning to knackered wives. Beyond, a sea of the ragged and unwashed. My world.

I greeted the stewardess and slipped toward the rear of the plane, toward the one empty seat, a middle. I opened the overhead and pressed my bag into the compartment, and then paused to analyse my neighbours.

On the aisle, a tall, bald man. He winced and groaned, undoubtedly wishing for hinges with which to fold up his legs. His knees barricaded my row, but he quickly dislodged and stood, likely grateful for one last stretch. Beyond him, tucked into the window seat, sat a good-looking lad with a serious face, his gaze locked in a sketchbook and his pencil working feverishly. He was so absent, he almost blended into the plane.

I eased down in-between.

Neither spoke. I could do worse.

I removed Dad's journal from my jacket pouch, tracing the numbers 1–9–9–5 and the cross on its cover. I removed his shredded map from inside it and a marker from my pocket, and dotted Nepal yellow. A quick count: Eighty stars across five continents.

Dad, I will soon have you beat.

Minutes later, the plane taxied away from LaGuardia. Someday, I would experience New York, but not with an idiot I met at McDonald's. The cabin lights went dark. I yawned and Aisle Man groaned, but Window Boy reached franticly for his reading beam. He managed to turn on all three vents and hit and cancel the stewardess call twice, but his flummoxed fingers could not locate the light. Sweat formed on his temple, and he muttered about an imminent attack and a lethal threat and an insidious enemy.

All very poor word choices when seated on an aeroplane.

"Hush. Let me help." I reached up and flicked on his beam.

He peeked at me, and as our gazes met, I assigned to him, as was my habit with all handsome blokes, a Possibility of Entanglement score—POE for short. This involved four questions worth three points each, the outcome scored like a football match. The lower the score, the safer for me.

Has he shown himself to be needy? Yes. Three points.

Does he remind you of anyone from London? Oh, the eyes of Jordy Waltham. Three points.

Does he show any interest in you? No. Three points.

Is he an original?

Window Boy dug in his pocket and extracted a tiny pencil sharpener and a baggie filled with shavings. He popped the plastic sharpener lid and picked out three shavings, whispering as he went along, "One, two, three." He placed each minute fleck into the bag, one by one, as if handling the sacred, again whispering the count. Then he carefully sealed the bag, fought it back into his pocket, and gave his pencil precisely three turns inside the sharpener.

I frowned. Is he an original? Yes. Three points.

Total POE score: 12

I exhaled slowly.

I haven't met a twelve in months.

"What's your name, then?" I asked.

His jaw tensed, but he neither glanced up nor spoke.

"Right. Heading home or away?"

This time his hand paused and he double clutched his pencil. He wasn't answering, but he was hearing. An unusual lad.

"I've never been to Minneapolis." I leaned into his shoulder and felt him flinch. "Tell me about it."

"You talk too much."

Direct, emotionless ... flipping fascinating. I shifted in my seat. He was right, and I couldn't help but smile.

"Yes, I do. And you practice eye contact far too little."

"I look at visitors when I need to, and since I don't need to, and I already know what you want, I will ignore you."

"And what is it that I want?"

"Secrets."

Here, on the outbound from New York, I had happened upon the most interesting bloke yet—a glorious breeze following five parched continents.

"Yes." I licked my lips, my goal only to extract him from his sketchbook. "I do want your secrets. Every single one—and since we have the time, let's start with your name."

His face tightened. "My name is not a secret. Elias. Elias Phinn."

"Hmm. A perfectly sensible name."

"Now you're trying to put me at ease with compliments." Elias stared down at the lights of the city. "Many stars fell tonight. But"—his voice hardened—"just like my name is no secret, it's also no compliment. Your schemes won't work." He paused. "I know where you're from."

"Horrid for me. You've uncovered my clandestine programme, and you know where I'm from. This places me at a slight disadvantage." I craned my neck to see what precious thing he could be sketching, but he raised the book's back cover and blocked my view.

He returned to drawing, and I bit my lip. I couldn't lose him, or this conversation. Though I had to act utterly dim, this nonsense was addictive.

"Did my accent give me away?"

"Your accent." He thought, and shrugged. "You're probably pretending to have an accent. Your dad doesn't have an accent."

I pressed back into my seat. He was right again, depending on perspective. My father, American by birth, never sounded like a Londoner. But Elias's guess on that point was the least of my worries. How had we traversed so much ground? Dad was a topic reserved for my inner circle. Elias was not in that queue.

"You know nothing of the man," I said quietly.

Elias slammed his book shut with a flourish, and stared into me. He was angry, or not—his face gave away so little. Suddenly, I felt very small.

"He's only the most dishonest, selfish, ruthless man in your entire nation. And don't try to deny it. His disgrace is the reason you're here."

I had wriggled free from many scrapes during the course of my adventures; I had only to be quick and clever. But Truth is inescapable.

"How do you know this?"

"You're not the first one he's sent. There was Kayla and Tessa. Both tried to seduce me with their words and discover what I know." He paused. "I never thought Rupert would risk his own daughter in this cover-up."

Rupert? Dad's name was Sean. Okay, Window Boy was certifiably deranged. But he had also come close, too close. I'd matched wits with blokes all over the world, and been jolted by a lad who belonged in a mad house.

Time soon took its toll, and Elias gave in to sleep. He clutched his sketchbook, clearly as dear to him as my diary was to me, against his chest. With a sudden and large slump, he melted against the window, arms limp at his sides, his holy book slipping to his lap.

I stared at his prize. Certifiable or not, Elias had pricked me, as nobody in eight months had. He had no business poking into my family, or dredging up pain from the deep. I decided to poke back.

Gently, I lifted the sketchbook from his thighs, took one peek at Elias, and opened to the first page.

"Not possible."

CHAPTER 2

Miss, you really need to exit the aircraft."

Fifteen minutes had passed since I eased the sketchbook back onto Elias's lap, since Elias woke and grabbed his bag and pushed his way off the plane.

My gaze roamed the face of the stewardess, but it was the pictures from the sketchbook that remained, impressed in my memory.

Page one: A factory. Not maybe a factory, positively a factory, drawn from the inside, from the floor, where huge looms pumped and pumped the cloth. Workers bent, weary looks on their faces. They worked too hard, too long. Just like Mum.

Page four: A prison. Drawn from inside the cell. Through the eyes of a prisoner. To the right, a cell wall, scratched and worn by a million hopeless moments. And at the bottom, hands—guilty hands—upturned. As a younger man, these palms gloried in strength and promise. Now, weathered and wrinkled, they'd taken too much. A murderer's hands? A rapist's hands? A fighter's?

Dad's?

Page seven: Me. Not resembling me, or me from a distance. Me, up close and peeking around a corner. Hesitant. Running from something. Elias reflected my gaze, my vacant mirror gaze. He captured my longing.

These were no abstract drawings. Elias drew with firm, perfect strokes. More telling than a photo. More, just more.

"Miss, are you all right?" The stewardess laid her hand on my shoulder. I stared at her fingers.

"No."

I rose, squeezed into the aisle, and reached for my bag. It felt heavy slung over my shoulder. For the first time in months I felt weak and crumpled against a seat.

"How did that bloke know my life? In his sketchbook, how could he know it?" I asked, and glanced at the stewardess. "Did you tell him? Wait, how would you know?"

"Do I need to call someone for you?" She stepped out of the aisle to let me pass. "I was supposed to keep a watchful eye on Elias throughout the flight, but maybe you need—"

"A bit of sleep and I'll—I'll be fine."

I wandered off the plane and into a vacant airport.

He's gone. My chest loosened. A random meeting with a paranoid mentalist. Disturbing, but random nonetheless.

"All right, Clara. Gather yourself."

Money. It would be good to check on where I stood with that. I threw my bag onto a blue plastic seat, tugged on the zip, and took a deep breath.

My bag was not my bag.

"Stop!" I screamed, and raced back down the tunnel. I burst back into the plane and grabbed my stewardess mate. "My dad's journal!" Every caution and tip and all his contacts! Not to mention my own diary. Eight months of everything. Every thought. And photos, of Teeter and Marna and Mum. "This isn't happening!" Together, we executed a frantic search.

"I'm so sorry." She glanced at her watch. "You can fill out a report, and if your backpack turns up ..."

I would not fill out a report. Not when every moment spent with pen and paper was another moment farther from my bag. No, there would be no report. No paper trail. I would find the idiot who lifted my bag and make the criminal pay.

I hurried back into the terminal and spread the contents of not-my-bag out on the floor.

Men's clothing, bundled and balled on top. This, I expected. I was the only female thief I'd encountered thus far. Beneath the clothing, some personal effects and two medications.

Risperidone and Melatonin. Thieves are always blasted.

I set the drugs aside, and peered into the bottom of the bag.

Paper. Reams of it. Paper laying loose; paper gathered into tablets.

Paper in sketchbooks.

"Oh no," I groaned.

And crumpled among the pages of drawings I dared not examine was a small slip, worn and creased.


Contents of this backpack belong to Elias Phinn.
If found, please contact Guinevere Phinn at:
Phinn's Bed and Breakfast
1 Loring Parkway
Minneapolis, Minnesota
(612) 555–0177


Guinevere. So be it. I will not deal with Window Boy. I will sort this out with Guinevere and retrieve my diary and forget this flight.

My stewardess shut down the gate area and joined me.

"Find what you need?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen. Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Friesen. Excerpted by permission of BLINK.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

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Both of Me 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
AshesTahg More than 1 year ago
I had heard a few online readers mention had excited they were for this book and the synopsis sounded promising. It was a young adult novel, but the characters were a bit older; 19 and 18. I looked forward to reading it and was absolutely excited when my pretty hardback review copy arrived in the mail... what laid between the two covers, however, couldn't have been more disappointing. I don't know much about Dissociation Identity Disorder...so this part of my opinion may be taking lightly...but everything about Elias' 'disorder' felt ridiculously fake. I could barely stomach him, since it felt as if Friesen heard about DID, threw together his own opinion on what it was like and wrote a book. Sadly, that wasn't even my biggest problem with this book. I understand that books are not always intended to hold fast to the same laws of reality that we are held to. Dragons pop through portals in fiction just as frequently as dragons dont pop through portals in our world. That does not give authors permission, however, to take a book and completely throw everything logical out the window. Both of Me could have really used some good old fashioned reality to tone down everything that sent me in a continued state of skeptical confusion. I'm not even kidding when I say that I was convinced for the first 100 pages that this whole book would end with Clara waking up and all the events of the book were nothing more than a dream. In fact, it went even further and I desperately hoped that that would be the case...because the cheap-order dream trope would be the only thing that could save this mess of a novel. Lets have a quick run down of everything that prompted that desire: Every word spilling from Clara's lips felt like the sort of thing that was supposed to be witty and bright...but landed somewhere between 'trying too hard' and 'are you mentally retarded to talk like that?'. I've never met anyone who talks like Clara talks, and I don't mean that in a complimented way. "Yes." I licked my lips, my goal only to extract him from his sketchbook. "I do want your secrets. Every single one - and since we have the time, lets start with your name." His face tightened. "My name is not a secret. Elias. Elias Phinn" "Hmm. A perfectly sensible name" "Now I understand that you're emotional derelicts. You blokes have made that abundantly clear." I looked up to the one on the far end. The follower. "How come you don't speak? How come you always let this beast do the talking?" The beast scoffed, "Ugly huh-" "Oh sod off. Was I speaking to you? Was I looking at you? Do you not have any sense of propriety?" Its completely fake, like the sort of thing you'd find in a disney channel tv show meant for children (which, don't get me started on how insulting cheap, cheesy and stupid tv shows for children are). Second off, Clara is this strange girl who turns up on the steps of the inn that Guinevere (Elias' single mother) runs. She is a complete stranger. So it is only natural that Guinevere trusts her completely with the care and keeping of her mentally unsteady son. Ah yes, because mothers with disabled children are completely ok with handing off the keys to their car and their only child to a moody teenaged stranger and saying, "here, take him to his therapy, will you?" this actually happened. im not even joking. i wish i was. Guinevere is completely stupid anyway. The airplane - do not get me started on the airplane. *spoiler* they buy an
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks like a good book.
ErinBookNut More than 1 year ago
I'd heard of this author, though I'd never read any of his work before. But I loved the cover and the premise sounded interesting so I accepted it for review. To be really honest the book was just...meh. When I was the book had a character with DID I immediately thought of Pretty Girl-13. The problem with this book is that it is no where near as gripping or engaging as Liz Coley's.  With Pretty Girl-13 there's a lot of suspense and mystery which is essential to keep the plot going. Both of Me doesn't have that. You get a generic flawed girl who meets a weird boy and their stuff gets switched. There isn't a whole lot to keep the reader interested. The DID is portrayed as "quirky" more than as what it is. I actually didn't even recognize it as DID at first. I really didn't like how Elias is portrayed.  As I said, the main girl is a sort of generic, flawed character. She lies to get money on the internet, there's trouble at home, yada yada. Can we get a little personality here? I found her so bland! And of course she loves the "wacky" Elias. *headdesk* The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get.  This book could have been so much more than what I was. I needed some kind of suspense, something to keep me interested. As it was I found myself skimming a lot of the middle, and even part of the end. I kind of just wanted it to end, that's not something I want to say about any book. 
book4children More than 1 year ago
I didn't really like this book, but it kept me reading through the end, so I'm giving it two stars. I found much of the story to be unbelievable and too vague to really appreciate it. I didn't like the protagonist very much and I found her motivations flimsy, confusing, or non-existent. The writing was lovely, if confusing. I spent much of the book wondering what the point of the story was. Of course, things are explained at the end, but it felt unresolved. The one big surprise for me was Elias's reason for the trip. But then again, it opened up a whole new set of questions that I didn't get answered. In the end, I was left unsatisfied, confused, and generally disappointed. But on the bright side, it was engaging enough that I didn't walk away from it. If I had disliked the book entirely, I would have quit reading and would not be writing a review for it. Content: kissing and suggestions of more happening Source: I received a copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.
WereJumpin More than 1 year ago
Definitely different from what I originally read, but I must say this book kept me wanting to know more. It was like a fantasy type style book due to Elias’ identity disorder. I really enjoyed the whole book, the beginning was confusing because you are getting to know Elias, as well as “The Other One”. Once I got past the differences, and the action kept pouring in, I was hooked. The ending of the book pulled everything together, and was the most powerful thing I have ever read. It really makes you think if mental illness is more than just a “label” and things from the past could really interfere with what is wrong inside their minds. My overall thoughts on this read is something I really don’t know what to write. Will this book be forgettable? Maybe. Have I learned something about Mental Illness? Sure. Will I continue to look for Jonathan’s work? Of course. The only thing that completely lacked in this book was the “connection”, I really didn’t get their connection, it wasn’t like something just happened… It was really weird in places, and the kiss.. they get caught in. Just seemed out of place, and odd. Do not get me wrong. I liked the book, and I really think anyone who loves a twisted type fantasy would to. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers
margauxreads More than 1 year ago
Both of Me by Johnathan Friesen is the story of Clara and Elias. Elias suffers from Dissociated Identity Disorder. One of Elias's personalities is a very artistic, socially awkward boy, who has created an alternate universe for himself. Things start to get interesting for Clara when she finds herself tied up in not one, but both of Elias's lives.  I don't think that this book was necessarily bad, but I don't think it was for me at all. I spent most of this book either hoping it would get better or just wanting to quit. I'm glad that I read through the book, but I didn't enjoy it at all.  I couldn't connect to any of the characters. They all felt fake and weak. I thought they were very unrealistic. There were occasional points in the novel when I didn't completely hate everyone, but then they would go do or say something dumb. The writing was also not my favorite. I'm sure that there are people that really enjoy this style of writing, but it just was not for me. I felt as though I was missing pages of the story and things weren't clicking at all. The writing style also felt kind of choppy and not well put together. Sometimes the plot had some exciting points that made me not totally regret reading this book, but the story never really seemed to flow for me.  I don't regret reading this book because it gives me a chance to learn more about my personal reading likes and dislikes, but I do not plan on reading this again. I think if it sounds interesting to you, try it out. Overall, the weak characters and plot just didn't work for me. I gave this book 1.5 out of 5 stars. Definitely one of my least favorite books. 
NadineTimes10 More than 1 year ago
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 (who has dissociative identity disorder) is something of a whirlwind with the makings of a wild goose chase, except, on account of Elias's strange zeal for his imaginary 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. _________________ BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Samantha05 More than 1 year ago
Clara has ran away from her home in London and is going on an international road trip of self discovery. Along the way, she meets Elias, a boy with DID, where he is an everyday guy one minute and then suddenly, he turns into his other half who believes he is in charge of a country called Salem. Clara reluctantly goes on a journey across America with him, and she falls for him along the way. This book and I battled on and off consistently. Not in an "I want to put this down- No, I don't" way, but in a "Oh cool, I like this- wait, where the heck did that come from? Oh wait, now I get it. Oh, nope, lost again" kind of way (but not in a bad way if that makes any sense). It's very quirky and kind of off the wall, but it's really, really beautiful and moving. It reminds me a bit of Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, but still extremely unique and different. I loveeeee the romance. Clara and Elias have such powerful emotions for the other, and you can feel that immensely. I was so happy every time they did or said something romantic (in serious, not cheesy or cutesy ways which really couldn't fit into their relationship at all). They have some interesting and unexpected moments here and there, but I ship them all the way. The thing with this book is that you kind of have to up your willing suspension of disbelief. Normally, for contemporary stories, there isn't a huge need for that, but this one requires a little extra bit of it (for example, Clara has managed to make it on her own so far via money from a charity she set up). That's definitely not a negative to it, but it's something to keep in mind while reading it. The ending and I....we didn't get along. It's one of those frustrating endings (for me) that fits the story SO FREAKING WELL, but it's still not what you wanted to happen. I devoured the epilogue hoping for something to change, but it didn't. It's very bittersweet, and it really does fit the story so well (because this isn't a story made for a happy ending), but still. My feels. They hurt. Overall, I definitely recommend this one! It's great for people who love road trip stories or want a really different/original contemporary.
BooksABlog More than 1 year ago
This book was truly amazing. It was sweet, humorous, and it hit you a little in the heart. It follows the story of Clara; a adventurous girl trying to hide from her past. And Elias;  A boy who is hiding in his own little world. Clara is trying to help Elias overcome his two sides of life. The one that is normal and sweet, and the other one who could be a bit stubborn and can be a monster at times. It is a sensitive story that could really make you tear up with both happiness and sadness. I recommend this book to book-lovers, but for people just starting of to read, this book can be a bit too sensitive for you. Either way I loved this book. I loved the story  behind it. I just wish i could read more about Clara and Elias.