Book Review: She Myself and I
Title: She Myself and I
Author: Emma Young
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids - Amulet Books
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Ever since Rosa’s nerve disease rendered her quadriplegic, she’s depended on her handsome, confident older brother to be her rock and her mirror. But when a doctor from Boston chooses her to be a candidate for an experimental brain transplant, she and her family move from London in search of a miracle. Sylvia—a girl from a small town in Massachusetts—is brain dead, and her parents have agreed to donate her body to give Rosa a new life. But when Rosa wakes from surgery, she can’t help but wonder, with increasing obsession, who Sylvia was and what her life was like. Her fascination with her new body and her desire to understand Sylvia prompt a road trip based on self-discovery... and a surprising new romance. But will Rosa be able to solve the dilemma of her identity?
Hello, everyone! I've got a pretty exciting review for you today. I decided to contact a few publication houses to see if I could get ARCs (Advanced Reader's Copy) to review, and ABRAMS Kids was the first to respond, sending me an ebook copy of She Myself and I.
This novel follows the story of Rosa, a young woman who becomes a quadriplegic after being diagnosed with a nerve disease, as she gets a brain transplant. In her new body, Rosa has to now deal with the struggle of finding out about who Sylvia, the girl whose body was donated to save her life, was; but most importantly, she has to decide whether she's still herself or if she's a mere intruder in someone else's body.
At first, I wasn't sure if this book would be for me. The synopsis really caught my attention, but as I started reading it, I became afraid that it would turn out to be more of a middle-grade story. I'm going to be honest and say that besides reading the synopsis, I knew nothing else about the book. Not about the author, the genre, what the expected audience is... Instead, I decided to dive into it as soon as I got it. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the turns the author took with this story.
Rosa definitely goes through an incredibly hard situation, and her actions and thoughts were, for the most part, completely realistic. In the terms of what her life is like, I can't relate at all. But Emma Young was able to bring this character to life in a way that was believable, and she managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of making our protagonist relatable. I know that, if I was in Rosa's place, I would have struggled with the same things she was struggling. And I dare say, would probably have had the same exact thoughts at times.
I really enjoyed Rosa and Joe's relationship. They were both such great characters, and their interactions always moved the story forward. There were very few times where I felt that a scene was being dragged on. And it was mostly at the beginning, where the back story and medical procedures were being described. I love how sweet and understanding Joe was. He's definitely one of my, if not the one, favourite characters in this novel. I also really liked the twists and turns the story took. It was really interesting to follow Rosa on this journey to discover her true self.
However, there were a few things that I didn't like; hence why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5. First of all, some of the descriptions were... too descriptive; particularly at the beginning. I don't want to give a specific example, but sometimes there would be two or three adjectives/adverbs describing something that was even that crucial to the scene. some of the descriptions could've definitely been shortened.
I would also have liked to hear more about Rosa's life before. And how she felt towards her nerve disease, and how her life was like. There were bits and pieces of information, but nothing too concrete on her feelings about it. It would have also been good to hear about her adjustment to her new body. Not in the sense of being in another person's body, since that was what the whole plot was basically about, but in the sense of being able to walk again, of being healthy again. It wasn't addressed as much but I believe it is a pretty important thing in her life, the whole reason that she had surgery in the first place, but instead we only got a few scenes from the months that she was in the hospital. I'm not saying I wanted the hospital period of the story to be longer (I actually think it could've been shorter since things only started to get going once Rosa met Joe), but I wanted to know more about her adjustment in that sense.
Also, another little thing that bothered me. Rosa repeatedly mentions that she wasn't pretty, but the blond girl on the cover is definitely pretty and some might say that she's even prettier than the brunette, who is Sylvia. So that kind of contradicts the story a little bit.
She Myself and I was a very entertaining read and I definitely recommend for you guys to pick it up once it is published (September 5, 2017 - North America). I am really glad ABRAMS Kids - Amulet Books allowed me to read this really cool story to review for you guys.
Also, fun fact: Rosa's surgery happened on the same day as my birthday! You're going to have to read the book to find out when it is ;)