Title: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBT
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Set during pride week in San Francisco, You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour is a charming coming of age novel. This beautiful young adult novel explores the intricacies of friendship, young love and facing fears.
Although Mark Rissi and Kate Cleary have sat beside each other all year in Calculus, the two have never spoken to one another. But that all changes after a chance encounter in a gay bar at the start of pride week. Kate ducks into the bar while she is working up the nerve to meet the girl of her dreams when she notices Mark dancing on the bar in his underwear. Despite this awkward first meeting, the two become fast friends who support one another during a tumultuous, life-alternating week.
Mark convinces his best friend Ryan to sneak out to a gay bar in the Castro to celebrate the beginning of Pride Week. Although they are extremely close and their relationship has occasionally crossed into “friends with benefits” territory, Mark has been in love with Ryan for a long time. While he is hoping this adventure will give Ryan the courage to come out of the closet what he really wants is for his friend to fall in love with him. Much to Mark’s dismay, the night does not exactly go as planned when Ryan begins to fall for someone else. Mark is heartbroken but with Kate’s encouragement, he finally confesses his feelings to Ryan but he is not at all prepared for the effect his admission has on their friendship.
Kate is on the verge of finally meeting her long distance love interest Violet for the first time. However, right before their introduction, Kate’s doubts and insecurities get the best of her and she runs away. This becomes a common theme for her as she ducks out on commitments and avoids her best friend, Lehna. The two young women have been best friends for most of their lives, but they are beginning to drift apart now their senior year is coming to a close. As graduation nears, Kate tries to pinpoint why she less enthused about her future than her fellow classmates. Her budding romance with Violet is also fraught with tension as Kate continues to resist truly committing to their relationship.
You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour is a unique young adult novel that is both angsty and heartwarming. The characters are well developed and their struggles are realistically portrayed. The storyline is engrossing and well-written but it is sometimes a little difficult to figure out which character is speaking. The novel is written in first person and the chapters alternate between Kate and Mark’s points of view but these shift in perspective are not marked. Despite this issue, You Know Me Well is an entertaining and moving story of friendship and new beginnings that will appeal to readers of all ages.