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No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale: "I'm pretty sure if Diane Sawyer were here, she'd say, Kippy Bushman, you are an actual genius with incredibly smooth moves."

Kathleen Hale's kind of nutty. We all know that. I started liking her when she responded to that 'Against YA' piece from last June with this piece of brilliance. "This woman is hilarious," said I. "Does she have any books out?"

And yes. She does. It's called No One Else Can Have You, which, when I was creeping on her Instagram feed, I'd thought was just a very funny slogan on a baseball hat she was wearing. But no. It was book promotion.

You can tell through her Instagram, Twitter and various articles (particularly this one about killing feral hogs) that she's a bit off. So it wasn't a huge surprise to me that she went to someone's home and was a big weirdo to them. I think I assumed people just knew that that was a Kathleen Hale thing, and not some "All authors could think this was ok!" sort of thing.

Anyway. I ordered her book. From her. Because that way she would draw in it, and what is the point of owning books anymore if they aren't specially marked in some way. I got this back:

I forgot to ask her to write one of her favorite
words, because I am an idiot

Then I neglected to finish/review her books for four months. And then this whole stalking-someone-from-Goodreads thing happened, and now this feels like a weirdly politically charged review, but it is not! It's a review of a strange book written by a strange girl, and I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads because I liked it but was not in love with it.

So basically, a girl gets murdered in a horrific way in a cornfield in a small Wisconsin town, and after the police obviously arrest the wrong person, her best friend (Kippy) decides she is going to figure out who did it and avenge her friend. Kippy is a weird bird who seems pretty based on Hale herself (buuut what do I know), especially since both spent part of their lives learning how to fight various animals. I emailed Hale about this back in the day (read: July)

me: What's the biggest animal you think you could beat in a fight?

KHprobably a mean dog?! I would kick it in the face.

meYou specifically mention Kippy learning how to fight a shark and you're gonna go with a dog? Although 'kick it in the face' saves it by like 48%.

KHI know how to fight a lot of dangerous beasts, but a dog is the only one I think I'd stand a good chance against. I weigh like 100 pounds.

KHIf bodily strength weren't an issue and I had a really thick hide I'd love to wrestle a brown bear. Alternatively maybe a gorilla. Or a crocodile. Maybe I would just go to a zoo and fight everything.

Kippy was in a NVCG (Non-Violent Communication Group) when she was younger because after her mom died, she started hugging people too hard. And also doing some biting. Because, y'know. 

Sometimes there's this slamming need for proximity, and you want to show someone the full weight of your attention by laying it on them, head to toe. After Mom died, I'd lie in wait, then pounce on Dom, yelling "banzai!" while I got a foothold on his neck or shoulder blade.

I mean. I liked this book because it's different and it's nice being in the head of someone in a YA book who's not quippy beyond their years or Super Special OMG You Are THE ONE or a mermaid. I don't get Kippy and how she thinks, but I appreciate the chance to try to get her. She goes to support groups and messes up relationships and gives the worst eulogy I have ever heard in my life, and there are people like that and they aren't being written about much.

Her interactions with her love interest aren't while they're preparing to take on The Corrupt Powers That Control Society (at least not beyond the level of the local sheriff) or sexy-fighting. Instead they're this:

I prod my utility belt, wondering how to say good-bye. Do we hug? "So do you think this is really dorky?" I jiggle the belt. 
Davey glances at my waist, then stares at me, looking stern. "Preparedness is never uncool."

Also I really like the cover. And you should maybe read this book, but get it from the library if you have some kind of reluctance to give Hale money. It's a really quick read, and it's just...different.


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