15 Jun 2016

ARC #Review: YOU KNOW ME WELL by Nina LaCour & David Levithan


Author: Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

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 and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I enjoyed this one but something kept me from loving it. I loved that it wasn't about coming out -- both the main characters were already out and accepted -- and that it was more about learning who you are as a person. I also really liked that both the main characters were falling in and out of love in different ways with different things. This was about two kids trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives that just also happened to be gay. And that was great!

I just think the friendship was way too quick and sudden. One conversation and Mark and Kate were BFFs. And don't get me wrong, it can happen. Dani and I became BFFs after a couple conversations. But it just felt so forced. Their interaction in the club felt awkward at best and unnatural at worst. I love books with awkward meet-cutes where one person says something like "hey you look like fun, let's get out of here" and that is what this was, but it just IDK it felt awkward and forced. 

Otherwise, I think the rest of the writing and plot and scenarios were all well constructed and made sense. I really liked how this one played out, especially that Mark and Kate made a pact not to tell anyone what happened unless they genuinely wanted to know AND ASKED. They noticed that their friends took them for granted and didn't want to be stepped on anymore and I loved that. 

I would have liked to know what happened at the party before the end though. I feel like it would have given me just that little bit more of a connection to why the two of them were suddenly everywhere. I genuinely wanted to know (and even asked aloud) but yet I wasn't told until the end. And I think it helped put the rest of the book in perspective but it left me hanging before that. 

I also really liked that there was really good representation in this one. Especially when it came to homeless LGBTQ+ kids but I felt like that aspect was superficially touched upon and I think this story would have really gotten a lot more out of it if it had included even just a bit more about Quinn and his volunteer work (which was just squeaked in there). I also really liked that it was on the page representation which is SO important to me and a lot of other kids that don't see their sexuality represented on page a lot. I also really liked that all the gay and lesbian kids flocked to one another because that is very true in real life, especially at high school (and especially if you are all closeted). 

But the BEST PART was that this was about how Kate was scared and closing herself off from amazing opportunities because she didn't see herself as good enough. She was forcing herself to do things she didn't feel comfortable with and allowing other's opinions to sway her decisions. This left her feeling uninspired and sad. And I loved that she saw that about herself in the end. And Mark! Mark with his unrequited love who realized that sometimes you need to let people grow at their own pace and in their own space. Mark who realized that it is IMPORTANT to have someone love you the way you love them and not just settle for something else! They both had such important things to tell the audience and I hope that all the scenic and straight kids alike who read this one will take away this important message: it doesn't matter who you are or who you love, you have to make choices that are for your best interests because no one else will.

I would definitely read more books by both David Levithan and Nina LaCour. I think they both have a good grasp on what it means to be a teen exploring identity and learning to grow up in this world. I recommend this one.


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