ARC Review: The One True Me and You by Remi K. England

One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant.

One meet cute waiting to happen.

Cover Design: Olga Grlic (designer) and Katie Smith (illustrator)

Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:

· Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels

· Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay

· Kiss a girl for the first time

It’s…a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols…and then, there’s Teagan.

Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:

· She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras

· She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon

· She’s gay af

If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.

When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great…but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?

A big-hearted, joyful romance and a love letter to all things geek, Remi K. England’s The One True Me and You is a *witness me* celebration of standing up for, and being, yourself.

The One True Me and You addresses the following topics that you may want a heads up about:

Gender dysphoria: Kay is exploring their gender identity and expresses some gender-related discomfort at times. There is one instance of microagressions from their mother. Ultimately, they are happy being nonbinary and feel comfortable coming into their identity and celebrating who they are.

Death of a parent by suicide (off-screen, before the story): Teagan experiences the loss of her mother as a child. This death by suicide resulted in the character going to therapy and ultimately pursuing art therapy as a future career. A pageant judge springs a question about it on her during her pageant interview.

Homophobia and transphobia: The “villain” (inasmuch as there is a villain) makes a few anti-LGBTQ+ comments. Teagan hides her identity because of the general anti-queerness of the pageant world. The overall tone of the book is light and LGBTQ+ positive and affirming, though.

My thoughts

Remi K. England hits patriarchal ideas right in its butt with The One True Me And You

I always find it amazing that even with a group that is marginalized how they then marginalize others without realizing it. England’s story is a prime example of this type of behavior and it is so great to read about it and now talk about it. I have heard negative comments about pageantry for a long time. I have never participated, but I did watch a couple of documentaries and the hard work that goes into entering over and over again is huge. Never mind the emotional abuse taken by misogynist judges and attendees that they are then subjected to during the whole process. England gives these humans credit and shares their stories in a way that isn’t patronizing. Love it.

The same negative connotations are spoken about in regards to cosplay. I have only recently started to learn about it and damn to make your costumes and then have the guts to go out there and own it. Yeah, I am all for that. England showcases the camaraderie within this group, but also lets humans be humans and sometimes that means jerks.

“(I)t’s just how brains work. We put people into categories without thinking. I still do it, too, and I’m the one questioning my gender on a daily basis. It takes a lot of work to unlearn that reflex.”

Kay, Loc 715

I love how The One True Me And You unfolds and evolves. Teagan and Kay are on different journeys yet on the same one. Both characters are young people just trying to exist in a world that is full of judgment. I love the supporting characters and how they prove that great friendships can exist even if they start online. There is a “mean girl” but I wonder if there is something more behind it as we never get to learn her motive. I have met some really homophobic people and later they have come out of the closet. Soooo…hint, hint, hint. (chuckle)

England has created a diverse cast. I think a good portion of the rainbow is represented, plus outside of it. I don’t remember reading any disabled characters, but they are at a cosplay convention so there had to be someone.

As I was typing the above paragraph, Teagan and Kay’s first kiss popped into my head. Oh yeah, I bookmarked it. It’s a first kiss to write about again and again. I think Kay thinks so too. (chuckle)

“I just made out with a girl. I, for the first time ever, had a girl’s tongue in my mouth and her legs between mine. God, it was fantastic.”

Kay, 1644

I highly recommend this book. I love the journeys of both Teagan and Kay. This is an area (pageants) that I don’t read too much about so it comes across as really fresh. The sweet and clean romance of Teagan and Kay is a huge plus. I just love everything about this story. The One True You And Me is a keeper.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 “As a Bookshop and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” at no additional cost to you.

Further Details:

Publisher: Wednesday Books, 978-1250814869,  March 1, 2022

Editor: Alexandra Sehulster and Mara Delgao Sánchez (Asst. Editor)

Narrators: Laura Knight Keating and Vico Ortiz

Settings: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida in the U.S.

Pages: 264

SC: Black, Asian, Bisexual, NonBinary


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