Sunday, April 3, 2016
Book Review: "You Know Me Well" by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Despite the fact that they sit next to each other in their high school calculus class, Mark and Katie have barely spoken to each other. So their official "meet cute" encounter is unlike any you've heard ofKate is hiding in a gay bar at the start of San Francisco's Pride Festival, running away before she gets the chance to meet the girl she's been dreaming about for months, when she sees Mark dancing on the bar. In his underwear.
Mark, too, is having his share of issues, despite winning the underwear contest. He's only at the bar because his closeted, more-than-best-friend Ryan, wanted to take a risk and go to the Pride Festival this year, and Mark would do anything to be with Ryan. Even if Mark has never told Ryan how he really feels about him. And when Ryan meets another guy, Mark is unsure of what to do, and where he fits in.
That night is the catalyst for an intense friendship between Mark and Kate, two people who had always known of, but never truly knew, the other. Mark must confront his feelings for Ryan and make a decision about whether to let his friend follow his own path, regardless of where that leaves him, or fight for what he wants more than anything. And Kate, who is a year older, must confront her own friendships, her fears, her feelings of inadequacy, and her inability to let herself goeven if she would go toward what she has always wanted.
Can a person you've never really known get to know you so well in just a short period of time? What does embracing that relationship to its fullest mean for those with whom you have intense, lengthy history? Told in alternating chapters between Kate and Mark's perspectives, You Know Me Well is a book about knowing when to listen to your heart and when to trust your head, knowing whom you can count on and when, and the possibilities of, well, becoming who you truly are.
I absolutely loved this book. Obviously I can identify with Mark's character more than Kate's (in more ways than I'd care to divulge), but I found his struggles, his emotions, even his wrong moves more appealing. At first, Kate's inability to tell people how she felt and what she was thinking, which led to chaos with nearly everyone in her life, was a bit frustrating, until she explains why.
I have been a fan of Levithan's for years now, and truly devour each of his books (those he writes himself and those he writes with others) in one or two sittings. Nina LaCour's style meshes so well with David's; although I'd assume David wrote Mark's chapters and Nina wrote Kate's, I don't know that to be true, and either way it just worked beautifully. This is a book that made me smile, made me cry (of course), made me grateful for those in my life, and made me a little bitter (I'll admit) that my high school experience couldn't have been this way, but then again, those scars made me the person I am now.
NetGalley and St. Martin's Press provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!