You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication date: 7th June 2016
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.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
Disclaimer: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t really know where to start with this review, so here goes…
You Know Me Well is a story told over the background of Pride Week, told in the alternating views of Kate and Mark. Kate and Mark happen to have sat next to each other in calculus for an entire year, until one night, at Pride, when Mark loses his inhibitions and dances in his underwear on a bar, and Kate spots him, while she hides from the girl she can’t stop thinking about – but has never met.
The characters, especially Kate and Mark, are realistic, and both dealing with their own issues. Mark, in love with his best friend Ryan, deals with his unrequited love and Ryan’s new boyfriend, the older, tattooed Taylor. Kate, enamoured with her best friend’s cousin Violet, shies away from the girl she loves, despite having never met. When Kate and Mark run away from their problems to a party, they are photographer and Kate’s artwork is thrust into the limelight.
I loved the other themes in the book – the juxtaposition of Ryan, still closeted, and Mark, openly gay, proud and accepted was one – and Kate’s worries about going to university, despite already having accepted a place, were reminiscent of the wonderful Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.
There are a lot of pop culture references throughout the book, but I liked the musical references – they didn’t feel dated, and they added to the atmosphere of the book.
At first, this book reminded me a lot of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, also by David Levithan, and both books take place over a short period of time. There’s perhaps a little insta-friendship between Kate and Mark, but I think we all find friends we feel like we’ve known for years.
A realistic, relatable tale of friendship, love and embracing not only both, but accepting yourself in the process.
I’m also looking forward to seeing both authors at YALC, where there’ll be a You Know Me Well poetry slam!
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