Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub. Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Indiebound,
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Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade.
Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on—and they might not pick the same side.
1) What inspired you to write "The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You"?
I love retellings. Seeing a retelling on the shelf in a bookstore is an almost guaranteed insta-buy for me. Especially if the story being retold is something I already like. So, having been a Shakespeare fangirl since elementary school, I’ve always been on the lookout for retellings of my favorite plays. While I had seen and read a million Romeo and Juliets and some Hamlets and even a couple of Taming Of The Shrews, I’d never found a book that modernized Much Ado About Nothing. I was wondering why when I thought about how much Benedick’s facial hair is commented on in Much Ado. And the line, “Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache” popped into my head. I wrote it down and THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU was born!
2) I know that I wanted to read this after I saw mentions of Doctor Who! Are you like Trixie and into all things nerdy?
Yes! I’m certainly am a nerd with deep roots. Part of that is growing up as a member of the Harry Potter generation. We were all sort of trained to be super-fans by a culture that supported dressing up formidnight release parties and marathon reading books and constantly having discussions online. That was just what being a fan looked like. So, that translated to my love of all things Joss Whedon, Star Wars, and Marvel. I started reading comics in high school, but lived too far from a comic book store through my early twenties to keep up. Thanks to the beauty of Comixology and Marvel Unlimited, I was able to catch up and stay caught up with so many different series! I found Doctor Who late because I was marathon-ing Battlestar Galactica and was scared to fall in love with another show. Which, of course, I did. It’s a pretty great time to be a nerd because there’s so much amazing stuff being created every single day, ready to be loved.
3) What authors have inspired you as an author?
Oh my goodness. All of them? I’m a librarian by day, so books are literally my bread and butter as well as my second career as well as my hobby. In YA alone (because otherwise this interview will never end), I have been endlessly inspired by Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, Rainbow Rowell, Marissa Meyer, Meg Cabot, Ally Carter, and Jennifer E. Smith.
4) What is a fun fact that you would like your fans to know about you?
If I had one wish (from, say, a genie or a wizard) I would probably waste it on having “OPP” by Naughty By Nature play whenever I entered a room.
5) What is the weirdest place you have gotten inspiration for an idea for a book?
Book inspiration for me is always weird. But I once had a student tell me that I looked like River Song (from Doctor Who) and that was the launching point for the nerdy references in THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU.
About Lily Anderson:
Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.
Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache.
Hovering over his upper lip—possibly glued there—was a bushy monstrosity that shouted, “Look out, senior class, I’m gonna tie some chicks to the train tracks and then go on safari with my good friend Teddy Roosevelt. Bully!”
I blindly swatted at Harper with my comic book, trying to alert her to the fact that there was a mustachioed moron trying to blend in with the other people entering campus.
“I know I should have made flash cards for the poems that Cline assigned,” she said, elbowing me back hard, both acknowledging that she wasn’t blind and that she hated when I interrupted her monologues about the summer reading list. “But I found Mrs. Bergman’s sociolinguistics syllabus on the U of O website and I’m sure she’ll use the same one here.”
The mustache twitched an attempt at freedom, edging away from West's ferrety nose as he tried to shove past a group of nervous looking freshmen. It might have been looking at me and Harper, but its owner was doing everything possible to ignore us, the planter box we were sitting on, and anything else that might have been east of the wrought iron gate.
“So,” Harper continued, louder than necessary considering we were sitting two inches apart. “I thought I’d get a head start. But now I’m afraid that we were supposed to memorize the poems for Cline. He never responded to my emails.”
Pushing my comic aside, I braced my hands against the brick ledge. The mustache was daring me to say something. Harper could hear it too, as evidenced by her staring up at the sun and muttering, “Or you could, you know, not do this.”
“Hey, West,” I called, ignoring the clucks of protest coming from my left. “I’m pretty sure your milk mustache curdled. Do you need a napkin?”
Ben West lurched to a stop, one foot inside of the gate. Even on the first day of school, he hadn’t managed to find a clean uniform. His polo was a series of baggy wrinkles, half tucked into a pair of dingy khakis. He turned his head. If the mustache had been able to give me the finger, it would have. Instead, it stared back at me with its curlicue fists raised on either side of West’s thin mouth.
“Hey, Harper,” he said. He cut his eyes at me and grumbled, “Trixie.”
I leaned back, offering the slowest of slow claps. “Great job, West. You have correctly named us. I, however, may need to change your mantle. Do you prefer Yosemite Sam or Doc Holliday? I definitely think it should be cowboy related.”
“Isn’t it cruel to make the freshmen walk past you?” he asked me, pushing the ratty brown hair out of his eyes. “Or is it some kind of ritual hazing?”
“Gotta scare them straight.” I gestured to my blonde associate. “Besides, I’ve got Harper to soften the blow. It’s like good cop, bad cop.”
“It is nothing like good cop, bad cop. We’re waiting for Meg,” Harper said, flushing under the smattering of freckles across her cheeks as she turned back to the parking lot, undoubtedly trying to escape to the special place in her head where pop quizzes—and student council vice presidents—lived. She removed her headband, pushing it back in place until she once again looked like Sleeping Beauty in pink glasses and khakis. Whereas I continued to look like I’d slept on my ponytail.
Which I had because it is cruel to start school on a Wednesday. “Is it heavy?” I asked Ben, waving at his mustache. “Like weight training for your face? Or are you just trying to compensate for your narrow shoulders?”
He gave a half-hearted leer at my polo. “I could ask the same thing of your bra.”
My arms flew automatically to cover my chest, but I seemed to be able to only conjure the consonants of the curses I wanted to hurl at him. In his usual show of bad form, West took this as some sort of victory.
“As you were,” he said, jumping back into the line of uniforms on their way to the main building. He passed too close to Kenneth Pollack, who shoved him hard into the main gate, growling, “Watch it, nerd.”
“School for geniuses, Kenneth,” Harper called. “We’re all nerds.”
Kenneth flipped her off absentmindedly as West brushed himself off and darted past Mike Shepherd into the main building.
“Brute,” Harper said under her breath.
I scuffed the planter box with the heels of my mandatory Mary Janes. “I’m off my game. My brain is still on summer vacation. I totally left myself open to that cheap trick.”
“I was referring to Kenneth, not Ben,” she frowned. “But, yes, you should have known better. Ben’s been using that bra line since fourth grade.”
As a rule, I refused to admit when Harper was right before eight in the morning. It would just lead to a full day of her gloating. I hopped off of the planter and scooped up my messenger bag, shoving my comic inside.
“Come on. I’m over waiting for Meg. She’s undoubtedly choosing hair care over punctuality. Again.”
Harper slid bonelessly to her feet, sighing with enough force to slump her shoulders as she followed me through the front gate and up the stairs. The sunlight refracted against her pale hair every time her neck swiveled to look behind us. Without my massive aviator sunglasses, I was sure I would have been blinded by the glare.“What’s with you?” I asked, kicking a stray pebble out of the way.
“What? Nothing.” Her head snapped back to attention, knocking her glasses askew. She quickly straightened them with two trembling hands. “Nothing. I was just thinking that maybe senior year might be a good time for you to end your war with Ben. You’d have more time to study and read comics and…”
Unlike the tardy Meg, Harper was tall enough that I could look at her without craning my neck downward. It made it easier to level her with a droll stare. Sometimes, it’s better to save one’s wit and just let the stupidity of a thought do the talking.
She rolled her eyes and clucked again, breezing past me to open the door.
“Or not,” she said, swinging the door open and letting me slip past her. “Year ten of Watson v. West starts now. But if one of you brings up the day he pushed you off the monkey bars, I am taking custody of Meg and we are going to sit with the yearbook staff during lunch.”
“I accept those terms,” I grinned. “Now help me think of historical figures with mustaches. Hitler and Stalin are entirely too obvious. I need to brainstorm before we get homework.”
Huge thank you to Griffin Teen for letting us participate in this blog tour!! I hope you are able to check out The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You soon :)