Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Between You & Me by McLaughlin and Kraus

Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus are famous for co-writing The Nanny Diaries. Happily for readers, the duo have continued to write together and I got the opportunity to review Between You & Me. As you'll notice, this book came out last year. I read it on my Kindle in the middle of the time where I was so sick and unfortunately promptly forgot to review it. I'm therefore correcting my egregious mistake and reviewing it now.

The novel opens by introducing us to Logan, a smart but unfulfilled twenty-seven year old with an MBA. We learn that our main character has a famous cousin Kelsey who Logan grew up with but has been estranged from since their parents split them up for undisclosed reasons. Logan doesn't remember what happened almost two decades ago but she knows she misses her cousin desperately so when Logan is contacted about visiting Kelsey she jumps at the chance to reconnect.

Essentially Between You & Me is a book delving into the dark side of celebrity. Logan is thrown headlong into the role of Kelsey's assistant and it's obvious that Kelsey needs her cousin's help. Some reviewers have questioned Logan's motives about why she stayed when she learned just how awful her job would be and what she would be expected to do, overlook and put up with just to satisfy Kelsey's parents. I think this book illuminates how far one will go for loyalty and love. Kelsey's parents are nightmarish and feed of their daughter's talent and stardom but Logan feels compelled to stay and try to protect her cousin from both her own bad behavior and the abusive parents who she cannot escape.

This book is not so much a beach read as it is an all night, into the wee hours novel. I would have to give it a solid three and a half stars. I know the online book review sites won't let me choose half stars but it's just a whole lot better than just a three star book. My only caveat for not giving it four stars is that in the end one wishes one learned more about what was going to happen with Logan. The book is written through her perspective but her character isn't as fleshed out as a reader may want. The view into the celebrity superstar life is illuminating though. It gives clarity about just why Justin Beiber or Brittany Spears have gone off the rails. Fame at a young age with unhealthy parental supervision seems to lead to downfall.

The authors continue to co-write together successfully and have published several other books together, look up their book list here. Their writing is always good and although this wasn't a ten out of ten like The Nanny Diaries, it's still a good read, McLaughlin and Kraus write terrific books that peak into the relationships between people and help flesh out the motivations that may drive human behavior. Their newest book is already out, it's called The First Affair.


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