Guillaume, Jenna, You were Made for Me, Pan Australia, August 2020, 327 pp., RRP $17.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760559137
‘Quirky’ is a word too often used when a writer is lost for an appropriate term. Well, I’m using it to describe You were Made for Me, because it’s totally accurate. I’m not spoiling the plot here to tell you that Katie and her very best friend Libby manage to create an actual boy – a perfect, gorgeous boy who is totally devoted to Katie. The reader must suspend disbelief for this book to work – the science is tenuous to say the least!
Katie and Libby have been best friends since preschool and Katie is secure in the knowledge that Libby is her ‘biggest supporter – she believes in her more than she believes in herself most of the time. Katie narrates the story, with an occasional interruption from Libby which is cute.
The novel follows Katie and Libby and their friends as they navigate the usual horrors of high-school: bullying (both direct and via social media); first relationships; family tensions; feelings of inadequacy, all while dealing with the fact that they are ‘now proud co-parents of a newborn, full-grown teenager’. If there is a moral to this story, it’s ‘careful what you wish for’! Guy is perfect for Katie – but perhaps too perfect?
Guillaume skillfully balances serious issues with laugh-out-loud moments. Characters who are discovering their sexuality are portrayed with empathy and without judgement. It’s a brave new world and Katie and her friends are accepting of other people’s choices.
I feel You were Made for Me is going to really appeal to teen readers. It’s charming and funny and kind.
There is nothing more graphic than details about kissing, so can safely be recommended to readers 14 years and over.
I highly recommend this book, particularly for those readers who claim, ‘but I don’t like books, they’re boring!’. This book is not boring!
Reviewed by Gaby Meares