Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

You Know Me WellSource:  Advance e-galley courtesy of St. Martins Griffin on Netgalley.

* * * 1/2

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.

Source: Advance e-galley courtesy of St. Martins Griffin on Netgalley.


This book is about falling in love, “stepping” out of love, coming out, growing up, facing life.  It’s about so many things.  But friendship is one of the biggest themes in this book and it is the one that touched me the most.

When I was 14 my best friend of 6 years dumped me.  I was blindsided and heartbroken.  We were joined at the hip.  We spoke on the phone for hours on the days we weren’t together in person.  We finished each other’s sentences.  We went on family trips together.  We told each other everything.  Or so I thought.  Because she kicked me to the curb over a boy and I never saw it coming.  Even in hindsight, there were no signs that anything in our friendship was going wrong.

Kate and Mark?  They are also dealing with huge changes in long time friendships.  Kate finds herself drawing away from Lehna, her best friend of over a decade.  And Mark finds himself struggling with the fact his best friend, Ryan, who he is desperately in love with, likely doesn’t feel the same way.  Kate and Mark form a tight friendship over their shared frustration and confusion over love, friendships and moving on.  This story was sometimes painful.  Addressing uncomfortable situations always is.  Why don’t you talk to me anymore?  Why don’t you feel the same way?  Can we still be friends after all this?  Those questions are so hard to both ask and answer.   But hard or not, Mark and Kate encourage each other to ask the difficult questions and work with the outcome even if it totally sucks.  By the end of their story you’ve experienced an unexpected happy ending.  A happy ending where not everything is perfect and getting there was most certainly messy. 

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a YA novel.  And I’m reminded, yet again, why I love them so much.  I wish I had had today’s YA back when I was a teen.  A book like You Know Me Well would have salvaged the last few days of finals as well as my summer after my freshman year of high school.  It would have taught me that friendships change.  Some will last forever.  Some will fade.  Some will go down in fiery flames.  I would have understood that evolution of a friendship is natural.  Yes, it can hurt like nobody’s business, but it’s not the end of the world.   

Needless to say I found this book to be a wonderful and realistic story of friendship.   Another excellent contemporary Young Adult novel to add to my list of recommendations.


1 comment:

  1. Great review! I also really liked this one -- I completely agree with you that this was such a good YA and so poignant re: friendships changing. ♥

    my review