Both of Me by Jonathan Frisen is YA book with a unique concept. Clara is an older teen girl traveling around the globe, fleeing her past when she accidentally switches bags with the airplane passenger sitting next to her–a good looking but aloof guy named Elias who clearly has Autism Spectrum Disorder. When Clara tracks Elias down to retrieve her bag, she gets sucked in by the mystery of his condition because–here’s the twist–Elias only exhibits ASD traits half of the time. The other half his personality shifts into a charming, brilliant young man who steals Clara’s heart.
I give Frisen major kudos for writing a book that’s not another rip-off of the last YA book I read. There are a lot of other things to like about Both of Me too. The dialogue is funny. The narrative is completely unpredictable. But there are a lot of “thin” characters like Kira and ideas that are never really explained like the borders and what exactly Elias does when he’s with them. I felt like the story needed another 100 pages to flesh things out.
However, my major issue with Both of Me is that I’m not okay with using ASD as a plot device. I know and love a lot of people with ASD and none of them can flip back and forth like that. Plus, without giving away any spoilers, the end of the book provides an artistic explanation for Autism that is pure BS.
P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booklook in exchange for my honest opinion and review.