She, Myself, and I

Reviewed by Melanie on September 5, 2017


Many books where the main character has a medical condition are going to be sad, full of desperate hope for a happy ending, and end with an extreme feeling of loss at losing a character that the reader has gotten to know, and most times lose. She, Myself, and I is different, because when we meet Rosa she’s preparing to keep living, even if her body does not.

Rosa meets Sylvia after her successful brain transplant. With a new lease on life, Rosa unexpectedly wants to know more about the girl who saved her. After meeting Joe, a reporter in training, Rosa learns not only about Slyvia, but also about herself.

The characters of the book are genuine and try to be heart felt. Rosa and Joe are the most well written, but their true selves are not revealed until close to the end. Learning the truth about Joe, while I understand he was keeping a secret, left me wondering if any character was honest or truly the person they seemed to be.

Rosa, like I’m sure most transplant recipients are, is apprehensive of her donated self and tries to learn more about the life of the person that matters so much to her. After months in the hospital, she doesn’t seemed phased by the world outside and jumps into her new world with little hesitation or apprehension. She seems pretty well adjusted to leap into Boston when being from the UK and doesn’t seem scared by the world she hasn’t moved through on her own in years. I expected her to have a bit more reservations about going out and traversing the outside world.

Elliot seems to be the most genuine character and his parts throughout the book are short and even shorter lived. I suppose his part as Rosa’s rock made him more like a conscience, a Jiminey Cricket, if you will, providing the most help, and small glimpses into Rosa’s old life and family dynamic.

Rosa’s mother seemed driven to keep her daughter alive, which I understand, but I never saw warmth and kindness from her. She came off as cold and not the kind of mother I expected for a character with a terminal disease.

I don’t want to talk a lot about the doctors and nurses, but was appalled by the “Jane” incident, and surprised by how it ended so abruptly near the end of the book even though it was only a couple paragraphs about it in the beginning. It felt like an unnecessary conflict in the story.

The plot, in the beginning, I feared would be focused solely at the hospital. I was glad when it headed in a different direction. Once things got moving, it was an enjoyable read. I was as determined as Rosa to learn more about her and Sylvia along the way.

I don’t want to lead to any spoilers, but I wish that Rosa’s black outs were resolved a bit differently. I feel like what began as an insightful journey about self discovery fell a bit flat with the “Leave it to Beaver” easy way of tying up lose ends. I feel like an epilogue would have helped give a more satisfying ending, even if it was just a tiny glimpse, maybe one month later, into Rosa’s future.

She, Myself, and I Book Cover She, Myself, and I
Emma Young
Young Adult, Fiction
Amulet Books
September 5, 2017

Ever since Rosa’s nerve disease rendered her quadriplegic, she’s depended on her handsome, confident older brother to be her rock and her mirror. But when a doctor from Boston chooses her to be a candidate for an experimental brain transplant, she and her family move from London in search of a miracle. Sylvia—a girl from a small town in Massachusetts—is brain dead, and her parents have agreed to donate her body to give Rosa a new life. But when Rosa wakes from surgery, she can’t help but wonder, with increasing obsession, who Sylvia was and what her life was like. Her fascination with her new body and her desire to understand Sylvia prompt a road trip based on self-discovery... and a surprising new romance. But will Rosa be able to solve the dilemma of her identity?

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