Lily Anderson’s debut The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is on sale now. This book was a total blast to read and had me smiling from ear to ear. It is a YA retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and it’s filled with nerdy references, witty dialogue, and quirky characters. Shakespeare fans will love the Much Ado references but the story shines on its own. I was sad to see it end! Read on to find out more about the book and read a fun author interview.
About the Book:
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on—and they might not pick the same side.
Please welcome author Lily Anderson who kindly answers my questions about The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, weighs in on fandom faves, and shares what books her characters are reading.
What sparked your interest in writing a Much Ado About Nothing retelling? Are there other Shakespearean works that you want to put your own spin on?
Actually, it was in response to my favorite romance novelist. I’m a HUGE fan of historical romance and Eloisa James is one of the smartest romance writers of all time. She’s also a Shakespeare professor by day. She was writing a series of fairy tale retellings and I tweeted at her and said that she could write the best Much Ado About Nothing retelling. Unlike Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, Much Ado doesn’t get retold a lot, which is ridiculous to me because I absolutely adore it. Eloisa James was understandably busy writing a slew of the best romance novels ever, but the idea of a Much Ado that erased Hero’s slut-shaming plot stayed with me. I probably started writing it within the week.
Right after I finished THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU, I never thought I’d write another Shakespeare retelling. But now that I’ve been on the other side for a while, I’ll go ahead and say, “never say never.” I don’t know which play I’d want to retell because if I had an idea as to how to do it, I’d probably fall down the rabbit hole and just put the ideas to paper. I will say that I have a really personal attachment to Julius Caesar. I co-directed it with one of my best friends at UC Davis in 2011. I mean, Mean Girls makes good use of it with Gretchen Weiner’s essay about stabbing Caesar, but there’s real potential in there, too. There’s a great quote from it about fate: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.” There’s probably a book title in there somewhere… (That might be the worst joke I’ve ever made? Sorry.)
LOL! What was your favorite or most challenging scene to write?
The most challenging scene to write was actually the first kiss. It had to be the right balance of unsure and hopeful and excited and scared—all while a bunch of other big plot stuff is happening in the background. I rewrote that one chapter in full during every single draft and edit of the book. All told, I think I spent a week of my life just on that scene!
It was worth it!
In the book Trixie and Ben love to read comics. What YA novels do you think they’d enjoy?
Oh! How did you know that making reading lists is one of my favorite things to do? (I’m a librarian by day and I spend a lot of time making lists of books for my students!)
For Trixie, I would recommend:
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black | GRACELING by Kristin Cashore | THE WHITE MOUNTAINS series by John Christopher | THE END GAMES by Michael T. Martin | THE UNDERTAKING OF LILY CHEN by Danica Novgorodoff
They should both read LOST STARS by Claudia Gray because it is part of the new Star Wars canon and because it is SO. FREAKING. GREAT.
OK I’m adding Lost Stars to my TBR!
There are several costumes and dresses described for the various dances in the book. What is your dream costume or prom dress?
Oh goodness. When I was in high school, I would put on a formal dress at the drop of a hat. My friends and I would literally go into Jessica McClintock (RIP, Jessica McClintock storefronts) just to put on the frilliest of dresses. But, as an adult, I’d be way more into cosplay than formalwear. I’d LOVE to put together an all-out super intricate Rose Quartz (from Steven Universe) costume. Or a Meg from Hercules cosplay?
Huh. Maybe I just want to be Susan Egan?
I love all the fandom references in the book and I’m curious to know your favorites:
DC or Marvel – Marvel
Angel or Spike – Spike, baby!
Doctor Who Doctor – David Tennant
Powerpuff Girl – Buttercup
Hogwarts House – Ravenclaw!
Rory suitor: Dean, Jess or Logan – JESS MARIANO FOREVER
Thanks, Lily! I hope we can still be friends if I’m #TeamLogan 🙂 Other than that our fandoms are in sync! Can’t wait to read your next book…and crossing fingers that Trixie and Ben make an appearance.
About the Author:
Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.