You Know Me Well – Book Review
Genre: YA LGBT Fiction
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.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
You Know Me Well has been on my radar since, I believe, it’s release date–unintentionally though. I didn’t know Nina LaCour at the time nor had I ever read anything by David Levithan in that moment. However, I was in an independent bookstore and the cover stood out like a sore thumb. It was stunning and I had to own it. But I stopped myself. I don’t remember the reasoning behind it, because I should have read it then, just like I needed to read it a couple weeks back.
Two weeks prior, I found myself in a new bookshop, trying to settle my panicked anxiety. I was trying to find comfort in-between the bookshelves, so with my Goodreads app open and a relatively small YA section, I found this beauty again. That night I read half of it in one sitting. I had to force myself away from Mark and Kate’s lives. I felt I could connect so heavily with them, but work begged for me the next morning.
In You Know Me Well, the reader follows Mark and Kate–both in their own POV’s–on their journey through a week of heartbreak, broken friendships, new friendships, and Pride Week.
Often, I’m put off by different POV’s. I find I’m skimming one to get to the person I want to read about. This book for the most part kept me hooked in both Kate and Mark’s life. But I think a lot had to do with their stories being so intertwined. But I did find myself falling more in love with Mark’s story than Kate’s.
Mark is a boy who is in love with his closeted gay best friend, Ryan. And Kate is a girl in love with her best friend’s cousin, Violet–who up until the book begins has never met the cousin before and has just fallen in love through stories and photographs.
“What’s happening to us–the decisions we’re making and not making, the things we can control and the things that we can’t–they are huge. And people can choose to forget how it was for them, or they can remember.”
Mark and Kate have been classmates since the beginning of the year, but their lives never crossed out in public until the beginning of Pride Week, the first time Kate ran in the story. We follow Kate through her anxieties and fear of commitment. Mark is someone who never used to go after things or be the center of attention until he tries to prove Ryan wrong one night, which ends in a disaster for him, but turns into a life changing event for Ryan.
I love the relationship that Mark and Kate have. They most likely wouldn’t have been friends under other circumstances, if they weren’t in the same room on the same night. But they clutch onto each other and hold the other up.
While this story is very much about dealing with relationships romantically–it’s more so about the strength and power in a friendship. How one should act and handle certain situations for their best friend and how no matter what–you should always be there for them, even if it’s a little too painful.
I would definitely recommend You Know Me Well. Honestly, I’ll probably read it again–quite soon. Not only did it help calm my anxieties as I drove into Mark and Kate’s world, but it was an easy and quick read, which is exactly what I needed.