I’d heard a few things about this book just before the release, and being a big fan of David Levithan i found it hard not to pick up right away. It was the perfect mix of YA angst, LGBT power and summer contemporary fluffy.
Title: You Know Me Well
Author: Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Genre: YA, LGBT, Contemporary
Publication Date: 2nd of June 2016
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.
Kate is a nervous person, and because she’s nervous she finds herself in a gay bar on a Saturday night watching the boy she sits beside in class dance on the bar in his underwear. Mark is trying to impress the love of his life Ryan, that’s why he’s on a bar dancing in his underwear. That suddenly comes to a haul when he sees the girl he sits beside in class watching him. Mark and Kate strike up an unlikely friendship in the name of winning over those they love and help each other come to terms with the life choices they’re about to make.
I love David Levithan’s writing, so it was guaranteed that i was going to like this novel really. I have missed reading YA LGBT stories quite a bit as it has been a long time since i picked one up. You Know Me Well definitely did not disappoint. The one thing i really did love about this novel was the fact so many characters were in the LGBT community. Often in novels revolving around gay characters, the protagonist or a friend of the protagonist is gay, and thats all. However it was very refreshing to have all the characters within this community and it showed a true perception of what it’s like when you happen to meet most of your friends because you are in fact gay.
Because of this, it felt like the characters had a true connection and it made each of them feel a lot more ‘real’ than other novels i’ve read lately. David took Mark’s chapters whereas Nina worked on the role of Kate. Both were told equally well and both characters were well rounded and explained. I loved them.
I have read other colaborations that David has been involved in (namely Will Grayson Will Grayson with John Green) and this one is clearly his best. I found the writing of Will Grayson Will Grayson to be pushed and the two stories didn’t go well together in my opinion. But You Know Me Well truly did and i enjoyed every second of it.
The whole story is told over a week so it feels like a quick burst of these characters lives. However the story is so detailed you forget about the short time you have with them. My one little niggle with this novel is that i wish we had more information to begin with. It felt like you went in blind and had to figure a lot of relationships out along the way that they characters were clearly already set in. But this wasn’t enough to put me off reading it.
“Hiding and denying and being afraid is no way to treat love. Love demands bravery.”
If you’re looking for a summer LGBT read i would recommend this one. It was definitely refreshing. I cannot wait to hear from David and Nina at YALC this year when they speak on a panel!