You Know Me Well
by Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Release date: June 7th 2016
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
I'm a sucker for three things: 1. YA Contemporaries. 2. YA contemporaries that take place over a short amount of time. And 3. Books David Levithan co-wrote -- I say co-wrote only because I think I've only actually one book just by him alone while I've read I think everything he co-wrote? --Anyway, unimportant. Obviously, though, I had to pick this one up right away considering it falls into all three categories.
You Know Me Well takes place over the course of week, more specifically pride week in San Fransico. For one thing, I was under the impression that this book took place in just one night which, I was a tad disappointed when that wasn't the case, but it's still a short period of time in which the authors do an amazing job of making the story and the character's journies feel very natural which is kind of hit and miss with novels that take place in such a short amount of time. We open on Pride week, on a Saturday, Mark and his best friend Ryan (who he's in love with and has been casually hooking up with) snuck out to this bar Happy Happy. Mark is desperately in love with Ryan who's not out and is keeping them a secret. Mark knows it's more than just messing around between them but he also knows Ryan's not ready to be out. Mark ends up dancing practically naked on the bar and that's when he see Katie. Katie's out, a senior and is supposed to be meeting her dream girl that night only she's terrified to finally meet her and ends up at the bar with Mark instead. This starts their whirlwind friendship and a crazy week of growing up and coming to terms with your future and yourself.
This is a really fun, fast-paced contemporary novel. It alternates chapters between Mark and Katie and Mark's were probably my favorite but I loved both characters and seeing both their stories play out. I probably felt a little more for Mark's side of the story and it broke my heart a little because I grew to love him so much and I wanted him to be happy. I mean it's not really in a bad way, my heart broke for him because all he wanted wasn't really panning out for him. I did love the idea of Katie and Violet who were both kind of in love with each other before ever meeting. It never felt like insta-love with I appreciated and, though I maybe would've wanted a little more from their budding relationship, it was kind of perfect the way it was. It was just so much of a beginning and this new thing that was fun to read. The best relationship though had to be between Mark and Katie. And then the WRITING I could go on and on about it but I mean, you know who the authors are, obviously the writing is very amazing.
A few of my favorite things:
The friendship between Mark and Katie. They've been in class together for months and have barely even spoken but with one little question they become best friends and it was just amazing and I loved it so much. I thought their friendship was written so well and they're there for each other through this crazy week where both their lives are basically falling apart in one way or another and changing in terrifying ways as Mark has to finally confront his feelings for Ryan when Ryan hooks up with someone else and Katie has graduation looming up before her and the urge to run away from everything. And they just form what feels like this epic, undying friendship right away and I LOVED that.
They have this crazy night, right? When they first become friends. And it starts with them making up an epic story that they're going to use to lie to their friends so their friends think they had some amazing night. Only, then they do go and have this amazing night. And they make this deal not to tell their friends (because Mark and Ryan are in this weird place and Katie is growing apart from her best friend, Lehna, who's pissed because she set Katie up with what was supposed to be the girl of Katie's dream and Katie ran away) unless they outright ask what happened. And you go through most the book not knowing exactly what happened that night and I really loved that. It's this little mystery and this secret between them that just shows their amazing friendship.
Characters: You Know Me Well is one of those books that has nothing but amazing characters. It's such a short book and there's quite a few side characters and characters who only pop up a little here and there but they were still all so well fleshed out and amazing. Katie and Mark are obviously the best. But I LOVED Violet and Quinn and the photographer who in one way or another kind of orchestrated most the story. I didn't love Ryan but I mean, I don't think you're supposed to because it's so complicated between Mark and him and Mark is so confused and hurt and everything. But Ryan did have his own little story that added to the novel. And I loved how nothing felt cliche when it came to any of the characters or any part of the story, it just all felt very real.
OVERALL: I LOVED this book. I'm sure there were flaws but no big ones I saw or that hindered my enjoyment of the novel. I probably would've liked a little more from the romantic relationships but I loved that, while those were a big focus, the biggest part was Mark and Katie and them becoming friends in an instant and helping each other. But I mean, I flew through the book, I loved the characters and the writing and the story, so overall I highly reccomend it!
Would I Recommend This? YES!
Who To? YA contemporary fans, of course.
Will I read more from this author(s)? Of course.