Posted in 4 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

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Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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.

A book 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. 

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚

True Rating: 3.5 Stars

Your poor teenage heart. It isn’t equipped for decisions like this. Except maybe. Maybe it is.

Wow. What an emotional roller coaster this book is. This is my first experience with both Nina LaCour and David Levithan, and while I’m not sure what I was expecting, this book definitely exceeded those expectations.

I don’t usually read books with LGBT+ characters, not because their existence offends me, but more because as a heterosexual woman who has always felt and behaved as such, I assumed it was doubtful I could relate. But this book made me hyper aware of, not my differences with these characters, but our similarities. Tear away those labels of sexuality and gender identity for just a minute, and beneath it you find what you knew was there all along: a beating heart. A human being. As it turns out, there aren’t many differences after all.

I knocked my rating down 1.5 stars because of a few minor issues. It was difficult for me to accept that the events of this book happened over one week–the quickness and depth of Mark and Katie’s new friendship, especially, seemed a little far-fetched. The alternating first person narratives was a good idea, but even though Mark’s chapters were written by Levithan and Katie’s by LaCour, the voices weren’t distinctive enough. There were several times I caught myself flipping back and forth, trying to figure out who was speaking, since (at least in the digital ARC I was given) there were no chapter headings to clue you in on who the speaker was. Lastly, I would’ve enjoyed more backstory on Mark and Katie, especially regarding their family lives. I thought both of them had great parents, and I would have liked to learn more about them.

Ultimately, You Know Me Well is about things we all know well–heartbreak, friendship, and struggling to find acceptance. If the synopsis interests you, I suggest you give it a try.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Author:

Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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