Tuesday, 19 April 2016

You Know Me Well ; a review.

Yes, that's right. I am writing a proper legit REVIEW. Of a new YA due out in June: You Know Me Well, by David Levithan & Nina LaCour. Because I can't not. I had to write about this one. 


I am a die hard David Levithan fan. I'm sure I must have told y'all this before, several times, but he's one of the super star writers who first got me into YA – and this is mostly due to his awesome style but also because he has written SO MANY YA NOVELS.
What's more, his books are wonderfully sexually diverse! Two Boys Kissing is a glorious story about various gay couples and individuals, Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List (featured in this blog post) is a classic boy/girl besties situation blown up somewhat by guys they both fancy, and the gorgeous Every Day (plus its follow-up but not sequel Another Day) contains some ambiguous gender matters. 

David Levithan is also the king of literary collaborations. One of his most famous would be Will Grayson, Will Grayson which he wrote with John Green. Also Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is one of his works with Rachel Cohn (the other being the aforementioned Naomi & Ely) which was made into an indie masterpiece of a film starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.


His latest collab, however, had all of us in the YA fan club jumping up and down with excitement and squealing in anticipation. You Know Me Well is a novel written with the gorgeous Nina LaCour (Hold Still / Everything Leads to You) and alternates between two perspectives, Mark (David) and Kate/Katie (Nina).
The story spans over several days, and tells the tale of two gay teens who are struggling with their respective love interests and trying to figure out what they want in life. Mark is madly in love with his best friend Ryan – I say madly because it really is insane how much he loves him – and Kate/Katie is eternally devoted to a girl she's never met, only heard about...and painted pictures for.

So when @MyKindaBook tweeted saying they had extra proofs to give out to book bloggers, I seized my phone and emailed so quickly and so excitedly that I misspelled the title of the book in the subject line (very awkward faux pas when requesting a proof, I've learned! Oops!).
Thank you for sending it so quickly guys (Bea, you star), and for telling me about #bookpride! Will be getting on that!

Things I loved: that the inclusion of social media sites – particularly Instagram – was done well and not just included for the sake of it, as is the case in several books I've been reading recently. The chemistry between Kate/Katie and Violet – even written down, they were hot together. Mark's hard love for his best friend Ryan, and the gradual progression of sorts with that love (no spoilers!) – I could relate to Mark 100% at times. The importance of friendship – Mark and Kate/Katie are soul mates in a strictly friendly way, and their circles of friends are all unique characters who come across quite vividly.

Favourite sentence(s): 'There was a blind spot in my knowing. But now I'm looking around it. I am knowing him more truthfully.' (David)
'I'm looking at what happens when I let go and trust myself, and the vision of it thrills me.' (Nina)

This book got me out of a reading slump that's been dragging me down for some time now. It's been taking me weeks to get through one book, it's been an effort to pick one up and pay attention to it, and I haven't been sure why. I'm still not sure why. All I know is that this book was the exciting pallet cleanse I needed – it's an easy yet intense read, full of important messages and gorgeous (if na├»ve at times) ideals about love and the overwhelming theme is how crucial and wonderful it can be to be YOU. Which I am all about right now. Another theme – what I picked up on anyway – is that you sometimes have to take control of your life, to work with what you've got and then if you don't like what you've got, then change it. Y'know?

David's writing is constantly blowing me away. I remember being at uni and working part-time behind a bar and when it was properly quiet I'd sit on the dishwasher and take out my copy of Two Boys Kissing (don't tell my managers), and there were moments when one sentence would require a breather after reading it – I'd have to shut the book quickly and take a moment to absorb what had just been said and how beautiful it was...
This book had Levithan on his usual excellent form, with a whole heap of added excellence from LaCour – who was a new voice to me, but now I must read all of her previous works right NOW. 

(UK & US covers)

I finished this on the train into London yesterday morning, just 24 hours after starting it. And this proof copy is now being sent off to the gorgeous Amy, a friend-soul mate type human of mine, and I'm so so excited to be sharing it with her. I was excited when two of my bookish pals Charlie and George commented on my Instagram snap of the cover to say they'd read it and loved it. Already I can feel people are going to get excited and want to share this story with others. 

1 comment

  1. Fantastic review! This book sounds amazing and already I'm seeing it everywhere.
    Cora @ Tea Party Princess

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