As an avid reader and writer, there is rarely a novel that makes me think “I have never read a book like this before.” Weird Girl and What’s His Name is one of the occasional exceptions.
The story of two nerdy seventeen year olds whose friendship is tested by secrets, affairs, identity questions, and failed family relationships, Weird Girl and What’s His Name manages the incredibly difficult feat of creating two equally compelling main characters with very different but equally interesting things at stake. Rory is in an illegal relationship with his older gay boss, and he also struggles to be both a super nerd and a football player; Lula is unsure of her own sexual identity, and after finding out Rory has lied to her, she runs away from two wonderful grandparents to find a mother who left her with only a backpack filled with acting books.
There were times when I worried that the obsessions the two protagonists share—science fiction, fantasy, and of course, X-Files—would overpower the story line, especially the lengthy episode descriptions. Ultimately, however, these shared passions become the ties that connect the two story lines, and they take on new meaning as the book unfolds.
One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the exploration of the meaning of love in its many forms, from parental love to friendship to passionate love. Nothing is simple in Weird Girl and What’s His Name, just like nothing is simple in real life, and characters don’t always get the answers they seek or the kinds of love they want from those around them. Yet the reader enjoys these complexities even more because each one brings a greater understanding of Rory and Lula in terms of both their relationships with others and with themselves.
Meagan Brothers has written an innovative piece of young adult fiction, and I definitely would recommend Weird Girl and What’s His Name to both young adult and adult fiction readers.
Note: I was given an advance reader copy of the novel; Weird Girl and What’s His Name comes out in October of 2015. You can find more information on the book’s Amazon page here, where you can preorder the book.