“Most lives are long, and most pain is short. Hearts don’t actually break; they always keep beating.”
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, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
I go into reading You Know Me Well without knowing much about the story. As soon as I saw David Levithan’s name as one of the authors I automatically agree to read and review the book from the publisher and added it to my tbr pile. So color me surprise when I found out while reading that the story isn’t about the two characters introduced in the first chapter of the book, Mark and Ryan. Instead it’s actually about the unexpected friendship between Mark and Kate.
Mark and Kate are both in the same school, who actually attend a same class but doesn’t know each other until their paths cross one fateful night in a club in San Francisco. A meeting that take both of them in a week-long journey of friendship, heartaches, and love by embracing who they are.
There’s no arguing that David Levithan is a very talented writer. He has ways with words that is uniquely him. His writing is one of those I can easily recognize in the sea of young adult novels. Whether it be a solo work or a collaboration, his writing really stand out. All I have is high praises for his talent and creativity but that doesn’t mean that every work of him with other authors is a success. Collaboration is a different process for authors and I am glad when it really works. In this book I can say that David’s new collaboration didn’t fail. His style and Nina LeCour writing somehow match. They successfully deliver an easily flowing read in You Know Me Well even with all the implausible circumstances.
“Even though there are no true beginnings in life – there’s always something that came before – there are definitely moments that feel like a beginning, and it’s always good to stop and take a second to enjoy them.”
The characters are easily likable. Mark and Kate are the kind of characters that readers will easily root for. They are good people who are struggling with their identity, love, and life. With all the things that’s happening to them and around them I can’t help but follow their adventures and mishaps. Their friendships though happened easily to be realistic is still fun and relate-able. They are like soul mates who found each other and instantly connected. The kind of friendship that you only hope will last and wish you also have.
For an LGBT book, You Know Me Well is not that heavy read. It’s fun in-spite of all the drama and heavy themes in the story. So many life lessons and reminders for readers. It’s inspiring and thought-provoking.
“I’m not running away anymore. It’s a promise I’m making to myself. You can keep doing what you’re supposed to, what you’re expected to, and tell yourself it’s what you want. … Believe, at eighteen, that you know what your life will hold and how to prepare for it. But if you don’t really believe it, if all that time you’re harboring a doubt so deep it creeps into even your best moments, and you break the rules and step away, then there’s going to be reckoning. You are going to have to explain yourself.”
All in all, You Know Me Well is a poignant and fun story of friendship and love that both tackle and celebrate queer issues away from the standard tropes. A powerful book that will remind those who have forgotten that lgbt are no different from anyone of us. They are people like us who experience failure, heartaches but still continue to fight and love or simply accept things that they cannot change.