“We’re all on our way to the same party even if it’s taking place in hundreds of different bars and living rooms. We are going out to celebrate ourselves and one another. To fall in love or to remind ourselves of all the people we’ve loved in the past.”
Title: You Know Me Well
Authors: David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Publication: June 7th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
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, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author ofNick 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.
I really don’t know what to say about this book. You Know Me Well has put me into a tight spot, as it were. I loved the writing, and the setting. But, the characters were childish and the plot trivial and, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. I love David Levithan’s work, I really, really do – but this time, not even that could keep me from spilling over to the dark side. You Know Me Well has an amazing moral and goal, but I think the execution or just the details involved took away from the actual power this book had the potential to wield.
My main problem is this: Mark and Kate are focused entirely on finding love. That’s it. They’ve already found themselves for the most part. They’re confident in their own skin, in their sexuality. Hell, within the first chapter Mark is dancing in his underwear on top of tables at a club as part of a contest. I love their confidence, or – if you delve a little deeper – their shield of confidence they use to protect themselves from everything else. But, it is their singular goal that rubbed me the wrong way. Mark wants his best friend, and on again off again lover, Ryan, to love him back. Kate has been fantasizing about Violet for years, has been helplessly in love with this person she has never met but has heard everything about for years – and now it is time to finally meet her. The whole point of their actions throughout the novel is to get together with their significant other, and I was not okay with that. There was so much more that could have been done. So much more that could have elevated this novel from a simple GLBT Romance into a powerful, heartfelt statement. Sadly, Kate was not the only one whose expectations were not met.
Don’t get me wrong, I still liked parts of it. But, the parts cannot equate to the salvation of the whole. When the story itself is inauthentic, overused, oversimplified, and completely outrageous – there is little to stop it from snowballing and destroying the fragile beauty of the rest. People hurt, they feel pain and they often wallow in it.They don’t just let it go, especially not after a few days and after such a big betrayal and heartbreak. Nothing about the emotions within this novel were real; everything was forced, fabricated, and consequently flawed. I wanted to love it, I wanted to fall madly and deeply in love with this book just as I did with Every Day, but it was sadly impossible.
Overall, You Know Me Well had the potential to be breathtaking and, instead, it made me want to rip my hair out and scream because of it’s use of waaaayyy overused tropes and completely ludicrous plot line – not to mention the abundant plot holes. I wanted to like it, I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything other than the fact that I now want to go down to the Pier and watch Sea Lions. The book did not do what it could have done, it did not move away from basic romance and trivial teenage crap – it should have, it could have. It could have been unbelievably profound. It just didn’t work out.