Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: Both of Me by Jonathon Friesen #FRC2014

This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

The book for our Personality Psychology class is Both of Me by Johnathon Friesen.

About the book:

It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.

When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

Clara meets Elias on an airplane.  Clara has been trying to run away from her life and the things she blames herself for in her past.  Elias intrigues her while they are on the plane together.  After her flight she realizes that Elias' bag looks exactly like hers and he has taken her bag instead of his own.  She is able to track him down to a bed and breakfast that his mom owns.  Once she sees Elias again, things do not seem right.  He doesn't remember who she is, ever seeing her, or that he took her bag.  Clara learns from Elias' mother that he has a personality disorder.  When he is one identity he does not remember things that have happened while he is in the other identity.  Clara spends time with Elias after his mother needs someone to take him somewhere.  She learns that she really likes the first Elias that she met and thinks she can help him stay that way.  However, in order to do this she has to travel with the second Elias to the place his mind goes while he is that Elias.  They end up going on an actual journey to try and piece together the bizarre things that Elias believes.  In the end, you find out there is a certain reason that there are two of Elias.  

This story took a little bit of time for me to figure out the two different personalities.  The journey that Elias and Clara go on eventually is therapeutic to both of them in a way.   This trip helps Clara confront her own fears from her past.  Something tragic in the end happens that is just utterly sad.  This book was not all sad, but also hilarious at times.  Clara and Elias end up picking up another individual for their journey and the way this happens had me laughing out loud!  Everyone that meets Elias really enjoys being around him.  There was a statement in the book that was so true. Elias is able to communicate and persuade people in ways that others can't and he in reality is two different people.  Normally this type of story is not my thing, but it is always good to branch out.  If I hadn't, I would not have read such a great story and completely missed out!  Elias really did touch people and I am still thinking about him long after reading this book.  

Buy the book:
·        Amazon Hardcover:

About the author:

Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

Connect with the author:
·        Facebook:
·        Twitter:
·        Website:
·        Goodreads:

If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

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