Book: You Go First (2018)
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Basic Plot: This is the story of two protagonists who are Scrabble partners online. Charlotte is dealing with a father in the hospital and Ben is dealing with the news that his parents are getting a divorce. On top of that, they’re both having trouble at school.
1) This is a book about the masks we wear. Each of our two protagonists (Charlotte and Ben) have their own struggles that they hide from the world. It’s an interesting topic explored in this book… how we know people, but really do not “know” them because none of us wants to go first with our story. Both kids (Charlotte and Ben) are facing some challenging stuff. But the answer is not in finding each other. The answer (given in the book) is finding a friend. A friend where you are. Of course, in real life this is harder than the book makes it out to be.
2) I like how this book takes on the topic of bullies… many different kinds of bullies; including former friends who betray you. This is Charlotte’s problem. And then there are the more classic bullies, the ones that Ben has to face. The answer (which I think is in fact very true) is in finding that one friend. Fortunately for both Ben and Charlotte, they do each find a good friend by the end of the book.
3) The online Scrabble component of the story was a fun connection between the two characters.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) Ben and Charlotte never actually meet. By the end of the book, I wondered why she wrote about two kids that never meet and never really interact in any meaningful way. (Neither one of them “go first” in revealing the tough stuff that they’re dealing with.) Come to think of it, this could have been two different books in a series.
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I rather liked this story. Would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a book dealing with how how kids deal with tough issues in their lives.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!