You Know Me Well
by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Expected Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: St Martins Press
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for honest review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
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 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.
I’m not sure there’s a more compatible co-author duo than David Levithan & Nina LaCour. As soon as I heard about this book, my initial reaction was “oh yes, that makes sense.” I haven’t always loved everything I’ve read by the two authors(both have been hit-and-miss), but I do enjoy both their writing styles and they mesh well together. Plus, now that I’ve read You Know Me Well, I can say that I have another book to add to the “hit” column for both authors, because I really enjoyed this one(with a few minor caveats).
Mark and Kate may have sat next to each other all year, but they’re not exactly friends, or even acquaintances. . . until a chance meeting during Pride week throws them together, and suddenly, despite the fact they barely know each other, they find out they in many ways understand each other better than other friends. You Know Me Well is a friendship story at heart, followed by what comes after the coming of age stories. Both Mark and Kate are out, and both of them are dealing with the “after” of that. Kate and Mark’s friendship is insta-friendship, but I totally bought it. I didn’t always feel like the events of You Know Me Well were the most realistic, but that’s okay. That didn’t feel like the point.
Both Kate and Mark are grappling with some romantic entanglements as well. Kate has the chance to meet the girl she’s been crushing on for a long time in real life, and this was the part of the plot that I had the most trouble with because I didn’t understand why they liked each other. Too much flashback, without actually building that connection. Though I did think both Kate and her crush were great characters, and they had some great dialogues and Nina LaCour’s writing is as beautiful as ever.
I found Mark’s bittersweet crush on his best friend and his hopeful yearning much more accessible. I think Levithan totally nailed the way that unrequited love feels, especially when it’s someone you loved platonically first, before the romantic feelings developed. Both Kate and Mark’s romances(or anguish over lack thereof) are large parts of the plot and drive the story forward, but never shadows the friendship story at the heart of it all, which is why I ended up enjoying this one so much.
Except for not really buying Kate’s romantic interest(at least, not at this point in the character’s story arcs), I really enjoyed this one and think it’s a great read for the month. Both LaCour and Levithan’s writing is wonderful, though I never expected any differently. 4/5 cupcakes.