Book Review: You Know Me Well (YA)

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
To be published on June 7, 2016.

Goodreads Summary:
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.

Author Comments from BEA:
I heard David Levithan talk about this book on Thursday, May 12th, after I’d already been approved for the book on NetGalley. He said he really wanted to write a he said, she said book featuring a gay boy and a lesbian girl. He was hoping to have a book that wasn’t characterized as a boy book or a girl book, just a queer book. He mentioned that the plot takes place during Pride Week and that the characters help each other through their respective romantic dilemmas.

He also discussed the experience of writing with a partner. He said that when he’s writing alone he doesn’t push himself as much as a partner, in this case Nina LaCour, pushes him. He also said that when he’s writing with someone else, then that person is the person he’s writing to instead of writing to a specific audience who may eventually read the book.

I was excited to read this book before seeing David in person. I have read some of his other partner works: Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares with Rachel Cohn, and enjoyed both of them. But I was even more anxious for this book after hearing him speak.

My Review:
Oh my gosh. This book! It is for books like this that I bother reading contemporary YA. So many times they don’t work for me, but this book was amazing. The emotions. Wow! So raw.

Mark and Kate meet at a bar on the first night of Pride Week. They are both struggling with something huge. Mark is in love with his best friend, Ryan, and their friends with benefits type relationship is no longer working for him. He is desperate for Ryan to notice him as a boy and not just as a friend. Kate is supposed to finally meet her best friend’s cousin, Violet, who she has loved from a distance for a while, but she’s scared to take that next step.

I love stories about instant friendship. Mark and Kate are so honest with each other. They can share feelings and thoughts that they cannot share with their other close friends because of their history. Each chapter just kept getting better and better. Some of the scenarios were a little crazy, but I loved getting to know these characters. I was routing for them the whole time, and I was silently cheering them on as I was reading.

The whole book takes place over Pride Week, but Mark and Kate go through some pretty heavy stuff during those 7 days. The story is told in alternating chapters – David Levithan writing as Mark and Nina LaCour writing as Kate. I think I enjoyed Kate’s chapters a little more, but I’m not sure if it was Nina’s writing or the female POV. All of the writing was pretty fantastic.

I struggled with this rating. I almost went for 5 stars, but there were some things I couldn’t completely wrap my head around in the plot. And sometimes there were these weird jumps forward in time followed by some back filling of the details, and it was a little hard to follow. Otherwise, I LOVED this book.

Favorite Quotes:
“I am excited about Taylor. I may want to date Taylor, if everything goes well. But I have known Taylor for a total of about five seconds, while I have known you since the mountains were made and the rivers were formed. I know we’re in a weird place right now, but I want you to step out of it and be there for me. Taylor is a boy, and you are my best friend. Taylor is a date, and you are my calendar. Understood?”

I don’t want to be a best friend if I can’t also be a boy in his eyes. I don’t want to be a calendar if I’ll never get a date.

Swoon, right?

I know that I’ve ruined something between us. I know I stopped feeling like Lehna’s twin a long time ago, and it’s a terrible thing to be the one who walks away.

That one isn’t as great out of context, but the emotion. Wow!

My Rating: 4 Stars
Understand my ratings.

Last year on the blog…

Raising a child with a servant’s heart

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  1. I just started reading this yesterday!! I LOVE Nina LaCour so I'm expecting awesomeness. I'm SO happy to see that you loved it…. I am so beyond hoping that I do too šŸ™‚

  2. You liked this one more than I did, but I still really enjoyed it. What I loved most about it was just how happy the energy felt – all these gay kids who were genuinely comfortable in their own skin, happy with who they were as people and trying to grow individually, even though they were so young. I think I liked Kate better than Mark, too!

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