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The Difference Between You and Me - Madeleine George Our library has this on their shelf of books recommended by staff, so I decided to try it. It's an interest story about the awkward relationship between 2 very different high school girls.

Jesse is a lesbian who is out to her parents, who are both former activists (they met when they were being fingerprinted after being arrested at a protest). She is admittedly off-beat, cutting her hair with a Swiss Army knife and wearing b*tt-ugly green fisherman's boots every day. She is the sole member of the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos (NOLAW) and prints manifestos about how the in-crowd should be more accepting of the students on the fringe.

She attends the fall dance in a guy's tux (and the fishing boots) and meets Emily, her polar opposite. She is a hardworking over-achiever, with her time taken up with being student body vice president, library assistant, apprentice nursing program, studying Chinese, etc. She also has a boyfriend she has literally known her whole life, but somehow she and Jesse wind up kissing in the girl's bathroom.

A year later, they still met clandestinely to kiss a couple of times per week working around Emily's schedule. No one else knows, including Emily's boyfriend. Despite Jesse's attempts to take things further, kissing is as far as it goes. Then Emily manages to talk her way into an internship with StarMart (WalMart look-alike). They were rebuffed in their initial attempt to build in this small town but are looking to regroup and try again. Emily suggests they buy goodwill by sponsoring the upcoming school fall dance and the athletic programs.

When word gets out, Jesse and Emily find themselves on opposite sides of the issue. Jesse sees the loss of local small businesses and sweatshop jobs overseas. She joins a girl named Esther in mobilizing local protests against StarMart. Emily sees the financial benefits to the school (she's in charge of the dance) and their corporate donations to developing countries. Neither wants to hurt the other but they're also not willing to conceed on their beliefs. Can their secret relationship survive, or is it even worth trying given the gulf that has come between them?

A little heavy on the anti-WalMart side. Jesse's side's arguments are always treated as rational, whereas Emily (and the school principal) only focus on how much the school is going to get out of the deal. In addition, Jesse's best friend's father is a corporate shill who is totally derogatory and insulting to Jesse and her group's concerns.