Monday, 18 July 2016

REVIEW: YOU KNOW ME WELL - NINA LACOUR + DAVID LEVITHAN

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TITLE: You know me well
AUTHORS: Nina LaCour and David Levithan
PUBLISHER (UK): Macmillan
RELEASE DATE (UK): June 2nd 2016
GOODREADS: x

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):
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, 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.



MY THOUGHTS:
I love David Levithan. I have for a few years now, ever since I first read Two Boys Kissing (which is now one of my favourite books of all time) and he hasn't let me down yet. Nina LaCour is completely new to me, but I'd heard great things. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for their collaboration and I'm very happy to say that those expectations were fulfilled, and maybe even surpassed. I went into it wanting a cute summery contemporary, and I ended up getting so much more.

I'm always slightly cautious of co-written books, but Nina and David's writing styles worked perfectly together. Sometimes I forgot it wasn't just by one author! Their styles are quite similar (they're both relatable and funny, which I love), but I could still definitely see the distinct voices of the two main characters. David remains one of my favourite authors, and I will definitely be picking up more from Nina in the near future.

The themes and representation in this book are so, so important, especially considering recent events, and I thought they were handled beautifully. I was so happy to see a lesbian protagonist as it's so rare in YA, and I'm very glad that she actually got a full story that didn't end in tragedy. More of this, please!

Probably my favourite part of this book was the characters, particularly the protagonists Kate and Mark. They're both likable and easy to relate to, but flawed enough to make them realistic. I just wanted to hug them! The relationships between the different characters, romantic and platonic, were so sweet and relatable and I loved seeing them develop over the course of the book.

My biggest complaint is that the plot, though entertaining, could be really unrealistic and far fetched at times. I'm all for suspending my disbelief whilst reading, but in this case I felt like it prevented me from fully connecting to the story and the characters. Aside from that, the story itself was really heart warming and the ending left me in happy tears. Rainbow coloured happy tears.

IN CONCLUSION:
You know me well has a great cast of characters, beautiful relationships and a message that everybody needs to hear right now. Unfortunately an unrealistic plot brought it down for me, but it's still a great summer read with more depth than you might expect.

4/5 STARS


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