Our tenth YA book club book was Lobsters by Lucy Ivison & Tom Ellen, two writers who put their own awkward encounters with young love into a funny, sweet novel about love and sex. Although some thought the novel was too shallow or too simple, lots of us enjoyed it for it’s funny quotes, super awkward scenes and the familiarity of doing dumb things when we were teenagers ourselves. For anyone who enjoyed Lobsters and is looking for books that are somewhat similar, we have two recommendations! One staying in our YA corner and one for adults. At the end we also have some possible discussion questions for anyone talking about this book with their own book club.
Anatomy of a Misfit
A lot of our book clubbers wanted to know more about Stella, the somewhat bitchy best friend of Hannah (our main character). There’s something behind her popularity that stays out of reach throughout the book. Anatomy of a Misfit is written from the perspective of the popular girl. Although Falling Into Place might be the more depressing version of this story, this book also shows that being popular is a constant struggle.
Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?
Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.
Me Before You
For our adult novel we picked a novel written with two perspectives, changing between the man and the woman falling in love. This book makes almost anyone who reads it laugh and cry and swoon and feel all of it at once. A love story, maybe not as awkward as Lobsters, but definitely more romantic.
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Is the book’s voice similar to your own when you were 17? Does it feel authentic?
– Was there any doubt that Hannah and Sam would end up together?
– Are the secondary characters well-developed? Especially Stella, was she too mean, or did you want to know more about her?