Published by Text Publishing on May 30th 2016
Genres: General, Young Adult
You Know Me Well is a tender and joyful young-adult novel tracing the powerful friendship of two lovesick teenagers—a gay boy, Mark, and a lesbian girl, Katie—over the course of Pride Week in San Francisco. Told in alternating chapters, You Know Me Well explores how Mark and Katie help one another overcome heartbreak, fractured friendships and the dizzying speeds of change.
You Know Me Well is a book about friendship, love and taking chances. Teens Mark and Kate may seem to have nothing in common. He’s a shy jock hopelessly and unrequitedly in love with his oblivious best friend. She’s an artistically driven college bound senior who is waiting for her best friend to set her up with the girl she’s loved from a far for years. Mark and Kate may have sat next to each other all year in Calculus but it isn’t until one night in a crowded bar that they become each other’s cheerleaders for love. Not willing to let the other avoid tough situations any longer, the two form a friendship unlike any other in their lives.
I love books about love and You Know Me Well is no exception. There is something about this book that is just so hopeful even when circumstances seem at their darkest. But what I loved most about this book is the love stories are secondary. This is a book about friendship and ranks amongst my all time favourite friendship stories. Mark and Kate are both at a turning point in their lives. They both need to make a choice about their relationships. They can either continue on as things have been going or they can jump in and take a chance on happiness even if they risk losing what they currently have.I loved how instantly Mark and Kate connected as friends. It was fast but it felt right they came to rely on each other so much and so quickly. Despite things happening over such a short period of time, Mark and Kate do experience quite a bit over the course if this novel.
The friendship between Mark and Kate was really special to read. From once in a lifetime parties, art gallery openings, heartbreak and joy – these two were really there for each other every step along the way. I loved seeing how they would support each other and just what would happen next. The narration switching between the two chapter by chapter flowed perfectly and as readers we got to see just the right amount of both their stories. Both authors styles worked well with the other and make this book something really special to read. You Know Me Well was a fairly emotional read in terms of feeling emotionally invested in both Mark and Kate’s relationships. There is a sense of dread and hope for each of them not knowing just how things will go for either of the love struck teens.
One of the things I like most about this book is how even though the main characters in this book are LGBT it feels universal. There are times when I read a book with LGBT characters where their sexuality becomes the focus overshadowing everything else and almost excluding many readers. That is not the case with You Know Me Well. Mark and Kate’s sexual orientations are important to the book in terms of Pride Week really setting everything into motion and being a bit of a backdrop. But this is a book about friendship and love regardless of who you are, who you love and that shines brightly throughout.
You Know Me Well is quick yet thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters felt authentic and relatable and I loved following them over the course of the novel. This book has cemented David Levithan as one of my favourite YA authors and after reading You Know Me Well, I’ll be on the look out for more by Nina LeCour.
You Know Me Well in ten words or less: Fast-paced story about friendship, love and learning to take risks.