You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

You Know Me WellYou Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Published by Text Publishing
Review copy provided by Netgalley

From the publisher:

You Know Me Well is a tender and joyful young-adult novel tracing the powerful friendship of two lovesick teenagers—a gay boy, Mark, and a lesbian girl, Katie—over the course of Pride Week in San Francisco. Told in alternating chapters, You Know Me Well explores how Mark and Katie help one another overcome heartbreak, fractured friendships and the dizzying speeds of change.

I’ll start with what I liked least about the book to get it out of the way. Mark and Kate meet at a gay bar, while Kate is hiding from this girl she really likes and Mark is dancing on the bar to impress this guy that he really likes, their eyes lock, they start talking, and instantly they were best friends. That part was not believable to me in the least – maybe it’s because I’m an old lady who needs to get to know a person before becoming BFF with them. But either way, their instafriendship reminded me of the instalove that is so annoying in books.

Other than that, I was really charmed by this adorable story of teenagers dealing with love, heartbreak and growing up. So often books that feature LGBTQ kids or adults are focused on the conflict that being gay causes in the persons’ life, or the internal struggle to come to terms with the characters’ sexuality, or a combination of the two, but this book wasn’t really like that. There is one character who is unwilling or unable to be honest with himself, his peers, and his family about the fact hat he is gay, and while that character is central to the story, for the most part Mark and Kate’s close friends are all gay and all completely happy, comfortable, well-adjusted and supported by their families. This was so refreshing to see and gave the book such a positive, happy vibe that I really enjoyed.

While I liked both Mark and Kate, I think I felt more compassion for and connection to Mark. His struggle of being in love with his best friend and not having that love returned to him was just heartbreaking. In the end, he handled the situation in such a mature and thoughtful way and I finished the book almost feeling proud of him. Yes, you can be proud of a fictional character. It’s a thing. I liked Kate too, but I thought her actions were a bit more selfish and a little flighty, to be honest. Part of that stemmed from her being scared of going after what she really wanted in life, but I wanted her to grow up and figure things out already. In the end, she sort of does, so I was happy with her character development throughout the novel.

Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I think teens in particular would really like getting to know these characters, and gay teens might find a lot to appreciate about the way these authors wrote gay characters who are happy, healthy, and proud to be exactly who they are.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

  1. Great review. I didn’t have a problem with the instant friendship. I just kind of went with it. Both were struggling with their current friend groups, so I thought it worked. I agree that this story was so positive and refreshing. I connected more with Kate though – I think maybe just because she was a girl. Overall, I loved the book.

  2. I haven’t read it – but interesting to read a review of a book that is a genre I wouldn’t normally be drawn to.
    I find so much “romantic fiction” to be unbelievable in the extreme, in particular because of the speed that relationships seem to form and fall apart. Perhaps I’m behind the times and that real life is like that nowadays, but mine certainly rolls at a somewhat slower pace!

  3. This sounds so good! I am trying to read more books with LGBT protagonists and while I think its important for people to understand the struggle that discrimination against LGBT individuals causes, it’s also really heartwarming to read a book where being LGBT is just considered normal. I’m glad there are books that do both 🙂

    1. YES YES that’s what I loved so much about this book. Like the fact that most of the characters in this book are gay does not have to make it an “issues” book. It was great.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s