You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour & David Levithan

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.

I love a good love story, and I love a good love story that has straight people and gay people and all sorts of friendships. This book covers those bases, and very wonderfully. Mark's relationship with Ryan is both sympathetic and also heartbreaking in its raw emotional state. At the same time, Kate and Violet's relationship is delicate, but not impossible, just full of missteps, hopes, and desires, but fully developed through LaCour's eyes.

As with many of Levithan's co-authored works with others, the chapters/perspectives switch from section to section, swapping from Levithan to LaCour throughout the novel. Both of the protagonists are solidly constructed, bringing life to each of their experiences with their respective friends and love interests. You Know Me Well is a book that wonderfully complements the existing body of work for queer youth in YA fiction, working to destabilize stereotypes while also playing with cliche to great effect. LaCour and Levithan work well together in terms of keeping the narrative consistent as well.

I Highly Recommend this book for those who like a good, solid romance with queer relationships and emotional depth. Keep this one in mind for a summer reading on the beach or patio with some beer/wine (if you're old enough) or at least a few kleenex's for those happy/sad tears!

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out June 2016)


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