MtSnow reviews ‘The Other Me’ by Suzanne Van Rooyen, published by Harmony Ink Press, 216 pgs, December 19, 2013
Why MtSnow read this book: The cover grabbed my attention first, then the blurb. I happen to enjoy young adult stories, and the fact that adolescents are in such a confusing time as it is, I thought this subject matter would give me good food for thought. This was also one of the first books I’d read from Harmony Ink, Dreamspinner’s Young Adult off-shoot press
Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.
As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.
But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.
When I read this book back in December of 2013, I absolutely fell in love with the storytelling style of this author. It was done in alternating POVs of both Gabriel and Treasa, and was really nice to ‘get in their heads’ so to speak. And the fact there was a glossary at the beginning of the book, well, it came in real handy, as I was VERY unfamiliar with the Afrikaans way of life and terminology.
Gender Dysphoria. What is it? Is it something we should know about, or better yet, how will it make me a better person in understanding what it is? This book does a very good job of explaining it in a very relatable way when we are introduced to one of our main characters, Treasa.
Going through a day in the life of a South African teen, well, it was like I was there, like the author gave me a plane ticket, and let me be a voyeur in another culture, following along in these young people’s daily activities in such a way that I could smell, see, and hear everything from their homes, their school-life and from their individual, very personal point of view.
I loved the way the author handled Treasa’s questioning and confusion so delicately, gradually, and yet so matter of fact. It worked so well that I could actually see the wheels turning in the minds of the people around Treasa also.
In my opinion, this was more of a coming to self-realization piece than a romance, even though I was happy to see there was some sweet romance included, it wasn’t what I’d consider the focus. First and foremost, I think it was written in a way that a young person would be able to relate to Treasa, and not feel alone, or abnormal if they also felt like they were ‘in the wrong skin’ so to speak. And Gabriel, with his troubles, was very relatable, also.
I came away from this story knowing I would always remember these two young people, and the writer’s style was so natural and fluid, that I know I will look forward to more books written by her. Highly recommended!
To add to Goodreads: Goodreads
About this author –
I’m a YA author with a penchant for the dark and strange. I primarily write speculative fiction but enjoy literary writing as well. I occasionally delve into adult genres too.
I’m a musician and have a Master’s degree in music, but I prefer writing strange stories, baking peanut butter cupcakes and playing with my shiba inu.
I’m repped by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Publicity manager for Anaiah Press.
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