Small-town teenager Edwin Green has been pining after his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, ever since she became famous and dumped him…and it doesn’t help that he keeps seeing her on magazine covers, or that his classmates constantly ask about her. Edwin mindlessly wafts through his school days while thinking up ways to get famous enough for Sadie to notice him again. When Edwin is paired with tough and secretive new girl, Parker, on a class project, he doesn’t expect much from their interview with a retiree about his memories of WWII. But Garland Lenox, a charmingly brusque man full of tall tales, has a proposition for Edwin and Parker: help him escape from the retirement home, fly to Europe, and track down the French woman who saved his life and stole his heart 65 years ago. Edwin finally finds his ticket to fame by documenting Garland’s story…but as the trio’s half-baked plans blow up in their faces (literally, at times), they catch the eye of the French authorities, making their journey more and more dangerous.
In TWO LIKE ME AND YOU, author Chad Alan Gibbs skillfully constructs a fast-paced story that alternates between absurd and heartfelt. Garland’s constant refrain of “Son, you can’t make this shit up!” sets the tone from the first page, allowing readers to suspend their disbelief during some of the more ridiculous plot points. The author’s keen sense of humor is apparent throughout the book, with witty subtitles sarcastically describing each chapter. One chapter—composed of telephone calls between Garland’s lawyer, Edwin’s parents, and a French diplomat—delightfully veers into farce, with plenty of snappy punchlines and laugh-out-loud banter. As word spreads and Edwin’s story goes viral, Gibbs’ wry humor becomes a commentary on celebrity gossip and the fickleness of public opinion.
While Edwin and Parker are sometimes lackluster protagonists—Edwin’s fairly average, if overly cautious, and Parker’s just a manic pixie dream girl with a dark past—Garland’s tall tales and chaotic actions add a refreshing element to the classic coming-of-age adventure. Throughout the journey from Alabama to the French countryside, Garland delivers his heartbreaking story in multi-page monologues punctuated with droll asides and the occasional wistful stare. His earnest motivation for finding the love he thought had died drives the story in a way Edwin’s desire for fame doesn’t quite manage; ultimately, the end of his quest is sure to touch readers’ hearts.
Teens will enjoy the fast-paced mix of adventure, heartbreaking romance, and satire in TWO LIKE ME AND YOU, as well as the occasional swearing and crude joke.
~Cameron Gillespie for IndieReader