Book Title: Things We Have In Common
Author: Tasha Kavanagh
Reviewed By: Mary
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, YA, Mystery
Date Read: 03/20/17
Pub Date: 01/31/17
Reader beware: You’ll think you know what’s happening, and you’ll think you see what’s coming next… But you’ll be very, very wrong.
Fifteen-year-old Yasmin Doner is a social misfit—obese, obsessive and deemed a freak by her peers at school. With her father dead and her mother in a new relationship, Yasmin yearns for a sense of belonging, finding comfort only in food and the fantasy of being close to Alice Taylor, a girl at school. Yasmin will do anything to become friends with pretty and popular Alice—even if Alice, like everyone else, thinks she’s a freak.
When Yasmin notices a sinister-looking man watching Alice from the school fence, she sees a way of finally winning Alice’s affection—because how this stranger is staring is far more than just looking, it’s wanting. Because this stranger, Yasmin believes, is going to take Alice. Yasmin decides to find out more about this man so that when he does take Alice, Yasmin will be the only one who knows his name and where he lives…the only one who can save her.
But as Yasmin discovers more about him, her affections begin to shift. Perhaps she was wrong about him. Perhaps she doesn’t need Alice after all.
And then Alice vanishes.
Being a teenager is hard. It was a whole lifetime ago and I still remember how hard it was and I had a relatively easy go of it. Every fleeting drama with your friends feels like the end of the world. The hormones, the crushes, the pressures of school, the crushes, thinking about college, the crushes, it was madness and we didn’t even have cell phones! I cannot even imagine being a teenager in the age of social media. #TooMuchPressure I’m breaking out just thinking about it. It’s a lot to handle for an average, mostly well-adjusted teenager.
Yasmin Doner is not your average teenager. Aside from being overweight as a result of her grief from the death of her father, Yasmin is rather socially inept. When she feels uncomfortable or gets stuck in a train of thought she whispers to herself. It doesn’t help her social status in the slightest. While Yasmin certainly doesn’t enjoy being called a freak or a fatty, it’s hurtful and lonely; she’s grown accustomed to such cruel behavior from her peers. As a coping mechanism Yasmin retreats within herself and fantasizes. She fantasizes about being thin and popular or at least having one special person with which to share her hopes and dreams, secrets, fears and more than anything, time.
But those fantasies turn to obsession when it comes to her classmate Alice. Alice embodies everything Yasmin wants, she’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s a gifted artist, she’s popular, she’s effortless, in Yasmin’s eyes, Alice is perfection. When Yasmin sees Alice being watched by a predatory older man, she knows his intentions are sinister. She knows, because she recognizes the desire to encompass the perfection, to hold it, to have it. But in the end…no one is perfect.
THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON does a wonderful job at giving the reader an outside looking in perspective. Allowing the reader to see things through Yasmin’s eyes, watching as she distorts reality so that it becomes what she needs it to be in that moment is an eerie experience. I went from feeling pity, to befuddlement, to concern, to fear in the span of 2 pages. The range of emotions this character feels all at once are dizzying. Loneliness, sadness, disappointment and despair, then changes to delusion, elation and hope in a whisper.
As Yasmin’s lies and half truths start revealing themselves, the ability to change her emotions based on her interpretation of reality becomes a survival tactic, as well as a way to protect her ever evolving fantasies, without which she would come undone entirely.
I give THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON 3.5 stars. It’s a fast, compelling read that gives a chilling look into the mind of a very misguided, if not sociopathic young girl. While the suspense level lays low in this one, the creep factor is ever present in the peculiarity of the main character. It pairs well with a bottle of Murphy-Goode Cabernet and a walk down memory lane to visit your teenage self.
*Many thanks to the author and publisher for my copy; it was a pleasure to provide an honest review.