Book Review: You Know Me Well (David Levithan and Nina LaCour)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 256

Release Date: June 2nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Review:

This was a really lovely book about love and friendship and all the trials and heartache that come with it.

I loved the friendship that sprang up between Kate and Mark. It was so organic and it just sang of real life: I’ve had similar situations before where someone you’ve known vaguely for a while has suddenly become so important to you through a chance encounter. I loved that it was a book about a boy-girl friendship rather than a boy-girl falling in love story. I also loved that it prioritised the friendship between LGBTQ people rather than the relationships. I think, whoever you’re attracted to, friendships can be just as important, if not more important, than romantic interests that come and go.

Mark’s heartache is one that I think most people can relate to. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back isn’t a new theme, but this one was written expertly and just tugged at your heartstrings. Kate’s story, on the other hand, is a little bit more unusual relationship wise, but I think her fears about college and her changing life are perfect for young adults who, no matter what age they are, always seem to be facing some kind of change or big life decision. The friendship between them was beautiful and I just wanted to read more of it.

The two writers work really well together and provide distinct voices for the characters as they alternate narration between chapters. I enjoyed the ending, as it wasn’t too cutesy/perfect, but still felt happy and hopeful. The last chapter or so felt a little cheesy and didn’t read too smoothly for me: it felt like some kind of grand monologue at the end of a film and it was a little jarring.

This is a really sweet story and its great to see an LGBT book that isn’t about coming out or coming to terms with sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, those books can be great and are important, especially for struggling young adults, but I also think it’s important to read about young people who are confident with their sexuality.

4