My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 was really excited for this book, it was one of my most anticipated releases last June and thank heavens because it definitely exceeded my expectations.
The thing about possibilities: There are some you want much more than others. Or only one you want much more than everything else.
So Mark and Katie sit beside each other in Calculus but they have never really spoken to each other until one night, at the start of San Francisco’s Pride Festival, they found each other in a gay bar where their friendship begins.
Mark is a junior and is inlove with his bestfriend-with-benefits Ryan who doesn’t feel the same way, while Katie is a senior who is somewhat “inlove” with this girl she hasn’t even met yet, Violet, the cousin of her bestfriend.
Well, that’s basically all you need to know about the plot. You Know Me Well is written in alternating perspectives of Mark and Katie, and I felt that it focused more on the friendship aspect rather than the romance. Or maybe, I just liked the friendship more than the actual romance.
While I truly dread and don’t believe in insta-love, I’m a believer for insta-friendship and support it all the way. I know other readers felt that Mark and Katie’s friendship is too unrealistic but some people just finds each other and magically forms a bond even if they have nothing in common and don’t know anything about each other. And that’s what it felt like when Mark and Katie met, they just clicked. I loved how their friendship was the core of the whole book, how they helped and cared for each other amidst their personal struggles because that’s truly what friends are for.
Hiding and denying and being afraid is no way to treat love. Love demands bravery. No matter the occasion, love expects us to rise.
Now for the romance, as mentioned Mark is inlove with his bestfriend Ryan. And even though the-falling-inlove-with-your-bff-troupe has been played out for so many times, it’s still my favorite and it still breaks my heart whenever the love isn’t reciprocated and the friendship gets lost. Seeing how things ended with the two of them was bittersweet, and I did had some issues with how Mark quickly accepted it all at the end. It was slightly too quick and unrealistic for me.
As for Katie and Violet, I also had some issues with their relationship. First, is that there was definitely some insta-love action. It’s like the moment they met, they knew that they were perfect for each other and then fell inlove at once. Next thing is that Violet seemed like the most wonderful girl in the world, and I know that’s suppose to be a good thing but her character was like the perfect dream girl. She’s beautiful, smart, adventurous, and seemed like someone beyond her teenage years. I just wanted her to be more flawed and realistic for Katie. Despite these things, I really liked how their relationship turned out and it was good enough for me to get past the insta-love.
This is definitely a character-driven book, and the character development was remarkable. The two protagonists were both flawed and I loved seeing them overcoming their struggles. I could say that I really connected with Katie’s character, she’s one of those people who always look down on herself and think that she’s not good enough which leads to running away from opportunities. Her character developed really well, she managed to straighten things on the different aspects of her life.
Other things that I loved:
- I love poetry and I loved that this book has Slam Poetry in it, and the pieces were also good. This definitely earned a star from me, it just made my reading experience more engaging.
- How Katie and Lehna’s friendship was portrayed. The reality is that people change, and even bestfriends grow apart (it’s the sad truth) but even if you’re not super friends anymore that person can still be part of your life.
- So both of our protagonists are gay but I love how this isn’t a coming out story, that their sexuality wasn’t the focus of the plot. They were just normal teenagers struggling with friends, love and life.
- I have read a lot of David Levithan’s work, and his writing style has always worked for me. This collaboration with Nina LaCour was written beautifully. It was fast-paced and the prose was lyrical.
Overall, I’m very happy to have read this book. It may not be one of my favorite reads but my time was not wasted at all. I recommend this to everyone who wants to read a character-driven, fast-paced, and friendship based but with an intriguing romance book. You Know Me Well will leave you feeling good and warm on the inside.
And we step off the curb, all of us together, as if to say, Here we come- through hard days and good ones, through despair and through exhilaration, in love and out of love, for just now or for forever. Here we come. It’s out parade.