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“Listen to the quiet of your heart. Follow it. The world is more layered than it seems, and in those hidden depths, you’ll find yourself,” Lark’s mother. –ME and Me
ME and ME
by Alice Kuipers
The bright sun greeted Lark as she planned for her day. She smiled as she thought of having a perfect date with Alec. A perfect birthday. Enjoying the blue skies and calm lake water would be the perfect way for Lark and Alec to get to know each other. Then screams pierce the silence.
Annabelle, a girl Lark used to babysit, is in danger. Alec jumps in to help, but when he enters the lake, his head hits a rock. Now both Annabelle and Alec are in trouble, and Lark doesn’t know what to do. It only takes Lark seconds to react, but in those seconds everything changes. Her world is torn into two parallel lives, reflecting her two choices of who to save, and afterward, we see Lark live out the result of each choice.
The concept of living a parallel life is interesting; however, the storyline of Me and Me is confusing. Lark changes from one parallel life to the other without warning, making the transition jarring. Instead of focusing solely on Lark’s parallel lives, the author also delves into other heavy topics, including the loss of a parent, domestic abuse, shoplifting, and sexual peer pressure. The addition of so many topics adds to the confusion of the story and because so many subject matters are thrown in, none of the topics are well developed.
Lark’s world is filled with many friends but instead of adding interest, the number of minor characters piles onto the confusion. None of the friends are well developed, making it hard for readers to feel invested in the story. Even though Alec is a major character, there is little to like about him. Even though Alec talks about his abusive father, he doesn’t act to protect himself or his mother because he doesn’t want to see his father in jail. The only reason Lark seems invested in Alec is because the two have a physical attraction for each other. Right from the start, the two have hot, steamy make-out sessions that get in the way of the story’s action.
The end of the story highlights the dangers of shoplifting and how it can destroy a person’s future. Lark realizes her “tendency to take risks was out of control” so she goes to therapy. Afterward, she “felt brave for dealing with my issues.”
Unless someone is extremely interested in parallel lives, Me and Me would best be left on the shelf. The confusing story will leave readers wondering why Lark’s story was worth their time.
- Once Lark and Alec begin dating, they kiss often. Additional, less graphic kissing scenes have been left out of this review.
- Alec kisses Lark, and “his kiss is quick and gentle, and his lips taste of sunshine and honey. My whole body turns molten. . . He slides his hand into my hair, and hot sparks shoot down my neck and spine.”
- Lark thinks about her time with Alec during the past week. “Kisses against the gym wall. Hand holding at lunch. Long conversations. . .”
- While on a date, Lark and Alec kiss. “His tongue is rough, and his hand slides over my shirt, then underneath it to graze my belly button, then slowly upward. My body responds, and I hear a groan escape my lips as he kisses my collarbone.”
- Alec “kisses me hard, his tongue warm and wet, and our knees press together. Something shoots through me—I haven’t felt like this before. God, I want him to kiss me more, kiss me harder. I become liquid.”
- Alec and Lark go to his house when his parents are out. They partially undress. “His toned abs flex as he leans forward to kiss the point of my chin, then the place where my collarbones meet, then the top of my breast.” Alec tells Lark that he has been with “a few others. Only one who—I guess that meant anything.” Alec’s parents come home and interrupt the two.
- Lark and her friend talk about how they are “not getting it.”
- Lark questions her friend. She asks if he’s been to his boyfriend’s house to meet the parents, and “not just for a hookup with their son.” They have a conversation about how hard it might be for his boyfriend and his parents to come to terms with a gay relationship.
- Lark and Alec kiss and “his tongue slipped into my mouth, opening me up. Things get heavy fast, and we’re both breathing quickly. . . He lifts my shirt out of the way to kiss the skin of my stomach.” They stop because they are in too public of a place to do more.
- While at a public park, Lark and Alec make out. “. . . He pulls me onto his lap, my legs astride him. . . he lies on top of me. He’s breathing warmly into my neck, kissing me just at the base of my ear, and every pore is opening, ice trickling down my spine, as I help him tug at my jeans.” A text interrupts them.
- While at Lark’s house, Alec “pushes me down onto the bed. Before I can take a breath, he climbs on top of me, tongue and hands exploring my face, my body. I want this—I want him. . .” Lark stops him from doing more.
- While outside, Alec pushes Lark to the ground and he “slides a hand up my skirt and beneath my underwear. I moan as he touches me.” They stop and don’t go to either one of their houses because their parents are home.
- Lark skipped school so Alec could come to her house. “Alec and I are in my bed, and he has pinned my arms above my head, our hands entwined in my long hair, the covers over our almost-naked bodies. . . Alec slides my underwear down. . . He runs his hand up my inner thigh. . . I arch my body toward him, my breast and stomach against his hard chest and abs. He opens my legs with his and pushes me into the bed. . .” They have sex, but it is not described.
- Alec has bruises and tells Lark that his dad hits him. Alec says, “Mom gets the worst of it, but when I’m around, I try to keep him off her. Sometimes I win. Sometimes he does.”
- When Lark gets a text from a friend, Alec gets angry, and “he grabs my arm, and his grip is hard. Hard enough to bruise me.” He threatens Lark and she leaves.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When Lark said she was rebellious, her friend replies, “You seem like a good student. Into nature and stuff, not drugs and parties.” Lark agrees.
- Lark’s friend smokes clove cigarettes. Another one of her friends smokes an e-cigarette.
- Lark and her friend use a fake ID so they can drink vodka cranberry.
- Profanity is scattered throughout the story and includes bullshit, bitch, crap, damn, holy crap, fricking, hell, and shit.
- “Thank god” is used often. For instance, when Lark takes off her shirt and shorts so she can swim, she thinks, “Thank God I’m wearing a decent bra.”
- Jesus is used as an exclamation once.
- Lark flips her friend off.
- A character thinks his boyfriend’s parents are “bigots.”
- When a friend catches Lark stealing, the friend calls Lark a “bonehead.”
- Someone tells Lark that she is a channel for her dead mother’s spirit.
- Lark has a parallel life, which she can see sometimes. She receives texts and videos from her parallel life. She also has visions of her other life. “There is a static flicker in the air—I sense something before I see the shimmery shapes of a room. It’s as if I’m looking through a window. . .” Lark discovers there is a portal between the two worlds and travels to the other world to talk to her other self.
- Lark and a friend discuss parallel lives. Her friend says that the number two “represents your soul number. Your divinity. If you’re open to receiving the message, angels will guide you.”
- Lark wonders if having a parallel life is genetic.
- When Lark gets to work, her friend says, “Thank the Great Spirit you’re on with me tonight.”