Title: You Know Me Well
Author: Nina LaCOUR and David Levithan
Genre: YA LGBTQ Contemporary.
RELEASE – 7TH JUNE 2016
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin.
**ARC Recieved in exchange for an honest review.
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.
You Know Me Well is a Young Adult Contemporary LGBTQ novel by award winning and bestselling authors, Nina LaCour and David Levithan. This book is described as being ‘a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time’ and it is exactly that and so much more.
I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about starting this book, I had seen a number of low rated reviews which mentioned that it was really obvious to see which author had wrote which part but for me? I genuinely didn’t have a clue, I couldn’t pick out sections which differed in writing style from another because I was so lost in the stories of Kate and Mark, the book is rather unique as we have two protagonists who are dealing with similar problems but their stories are both independent and united or interlinked.
First I want to mention that Kate and Mark meet at a bar and suddenly become friends, which I understand a lot of people have had issues with. They don’t like this point because they find it unrealistic, but for me it was like a normal romantic comedy meet where the two characters suddenly start talking and hey presto. Friends, or in a romantic comedy normally lovers… I also think that this meeting also adds to the eccentric aspects of their personalities.
In terms of characters I would like to applaud Nina and David for their incorporation of such diversity, we have straight, lesbian and gay characters for example. I really liked both Mark and Kate’s characters as well, I felt like they complimented each other really well, one character though I’m not a fan of is Lehna.
Now Lehna is Kate’s bestfriend and they have some issues in the book but I’m just not a fan, whilst they did get on and have a few moments I just couldn’t help the eye roll I felt over her character. Once she said ‘don’t ruin our night, just because you ruined yours’ to Kate, I was done.
The book is even more diverse with the parents of these teens because we have parents we understand their child’s sexual orientation, we have parents who don’t know yet because their child is still hiding their true selves and the book also touches upon parents who are fully against homosexuality. It’s not directly within this book but in reference to two other ‘passing’ characters, we establish that the journey to ‘coming out’ and revealing your sexual orientation isn’t easy for everyone and this is established through the mention of parents beating their sons or moving them away and almost wiping their existence away.
I found the title You Know Me Well to be in itself rather interesting, because Lehna and Ryan both think they know their best-friend’s pretty well but it was interesting how Kate and Mark themselves didn’t even know who they really are. The book is a journey for them to discover themselves, discover what they want to be or do and just overall take a hold of their lives.
Therefore I think the title is interesting because the whole book is these two characters questioning who they are.
You Know Me Well is a unique story, as a reader I felt heartbreak, love and admiration for Kate and Mark and their journey to discover who they truly are. One of my favourite things about this book was the realistic setting and overall the whole nature of the story, two quotes really stood out to me and these are:
‘Ryan’s not doing it to hurt me. I have to believe that. He’s doing it to make himself happy’ – Mark
‘It is very unclear to me whether they are truly interested in my art, or are simply interested In my followers’ – Kate
These two quotes really stuck with me because Kate and Mark are both questioning friendship and how blind we are to a person’s true reasoning. Ultimately we don’t know why a person makes a decision or why that person may be interested in us so we have to take a blind leap of faith and trust the person.
The book is set in San Francisco during Pride Week and Pride and Culture is a big part of this story, the book features poetry and art and overall this plays in with the theme of acceptance and discovery.
You know me well is a 4/4.5 star read for me, I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and I really liked the alternative POV which allowed us to essentially experience two stories weaved into one. I did however find the story to be a little jumpy at times when the next chapter suddenly went to the next day. The day is mentioned on the chapter so you know when the chapter is set, at times I felt like their could have been more time spent on a particular chapter which would of allowed us to gain more detail from a situation or a character but it didn’t happen too often so it didn’t really hold the story back. It was more a little annoyance that it suddenly flipped to another moment.
Overall I really enjoyed You Know Me Well, I think it’s a brilliant book on acceptance and learning who you truly are as a person and where you want to be. The ending offers unity and whilst theirs still confusion there is acceptance alongside it. I also really liked how realistic, elements of this book was, one of my best friends is gay and I could relate aspects of his coming out to Ryan’s character and the fear I saw in my friend therefore I felt a personal connection to this book.
All I wish now is that I had a physical copy signed by these wonderful authors so it could grace my bookshelf properly under my section of ‘books I had an emotional connection with’. David Levithan was at BEA and I am incredibly jealous of those who got to meet him!
Let me know in the comments if You Know Me Well is a book you would consider picking up for yourself? It is due to be released June 7th 2016 so be sure to keep an eye out and remember don’t let bad reviews put you off from trying a book yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised.