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.

Title: You Know Me Well

Authors: Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Publication Date: 7th June 2016

Series: No

Ahhhhh! Another contemporary novel! I seriously need to read more of these! It may be my first one this year…oops. It’s my first proper LGBT novel (I think) and it was actually quite a ride! I generally don’t pick up contemporaries anyway, and romance ain’t my thing but hey! I was surprised! Here’s the problem: I honestly don’t know how to write this review. 0.0 I have mixed feelings about this.

The Characters:

Kate and Mark are the main characters and they are both homosexual.

I don’t really get Kate to be honest. She strikes me as someone with anxiety sometimes but other times, I’m not sure. She seems to have low self-esteem and is very unsure of herself. She likes Violet, a girl she has never met before and I don’t really get that. Maybe that’s just me.

Mark is gay and likes his best friend. He’s also meant to be really attractive. What really stuck with me was Mark’s unrequited/obsessive love for Ryan. I can’t decide whether it was good or not.

I really don’t feel like I’ve learnt that much about the characters. Throughout the book, Mark is struggling with seeing Ryan with other guys and really, the whole book centres on these two things: Kate and Mark…and their relationship problems…

Though saying that, even though I found that Mark and Kate’s relationship seemed entirely improbable, (Do you really just go up to people and say, “Can we be friends?”) I found their friendship almost inspiring. The lengths they would go to for each other. It was like, “Wow…” They became friends quickly because of their relationship problems and their sexuality. Their friendship was…I dunno…I don’t want to use the word “beautiful” because that feels out-of-place here. I don’t even like using that word. But it was.

Kate’s “best friend,” Lehna, annoyed me sooooooo much. I felt like she overreacted and wasn’t really that good a friend to Kate compared to Mark. Lehna has supposedly known Kate for a looooong time, you know, one of them childhood-to-now kinda long. But anyways, Mark was so much more of a better friend to Kate than Lehna or anyone else. I think the authors portrayed the whole friendship thing really well too. Like, who’s your friend? Why are they you friend? Is it because you’ve known each other for ages and it feels like a shame to break off? Or maybe it’s just because they’ve been with you for ages.

The Plot:

There’s no buildup. There’s no climax.

The entire book is literally about Mark and Kate’s relationship issues. There is no mystery (blaaaah) and there’s no big reveal either. The characters didn’t need to come out or anything, they were just accepted. It’s kinda nice and it also meant that more of the book was left to the actual story: the problems presented to us that needed solving. Sometimes I felt like the events happening were forced and it didn’t feel right. There seems to be loads of parties or something, and nothing felt natural. NOTHING. Dropped roses? REALLY??? REALLY???

It’s interesting how throughout the entire book, there isn’t a mention of city names. I really have no idea where this is set except for the fact that it’s in America. Surprise surprise. It shouldn’t matter to me anyway, I don’t live in America and know next to nothing on the subject of “American Geography.” Actually, I lied. I can vaaaaaguely point out the location of New York. HEY IT’S NOT SO BAD NOW IS IT?

The Writing:

This story is told from 2 different viewpoints, Kate and Mark’s.

Nina LaCour and David Levithan co-wrote this book, with Nina taking charge of Kate’s viewpoint and David taking charge of Mark’s viewpoint. It was well written and the changes between the viewpoints weren’t jarring: it flowed smoothly.

This book provided a very positive outlook on the LGBT community without giving everyone happy endings. Everyone was accepted, and there wasn’t bullying. Slightly unrealistic seeing as they’re in high school…. What I really liked about this book was that it showed that whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual, we all have the same problems. We all face the possibility of rejection and hurt, and the uncertainty of what may lie ahead of us in the future.

The Conclusion:

I feel like I’m not writing a very good review since I haven’t read many LGBT YA novels. (I remembered, I read “Kiss” by Jacqueline Wilson.)

Nina and David do not talk about the issue of coming out. Instead this novel feels more like a step forward, in a world where you worry about rejection from the one you love and your future after high school and not whether you will get bullied or not, and your parents’ response to your sexuality.

But overall, I felt like this was a really good book. It gripped me but I wasn’t mindblown or anything. It’s a short book that’s simple and easy to read, so it’s perfect for a train ride! Personally, I didn’t feel like I could relate to any of the characters on an emotional level, and I don’t think it’s because of their sexuality either. The love Mark and Kate feel towards Ryan and Violet doesn’t feel real to me. Kate hasn’t even met Violet before and for love that strong?…And Mark and Ryan, Mark seems more obsessed with Ryan I think.

Maybe it’s because it’s a contemporary that I’m being a little harsh on the realism of it. But did I like the ending? No.

Positives:

  • Main characters aren’t falling in love.
  • Positive reception of the LGBT community
  • The fear of growing up and leaving high school is present

Negatives:

  • Unrelatable characters
  • Elements that I found unrealistic
  • I didn’t like the ending :/

Rating: 3.5 Stars – See my rating system. I don’t know. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I really wanted to love the book but I just couldn’t. 🙁

Owned: YES!!! I requested an ARC and I ACTUALLY GOT IT!!! IT’S A MIRACLE!!! *flails*

Buy your own copy on Amazon here!

Recommended for: Those that want a quick read, on the train or on the plane. People looking for a LBGT contemporary, and teenagers that are moving on to college/university soon.


So that’s my review done! Think you’ll be reading it?

And I’m looking for more LGBT contemporaries to read, can you recommend any?

0 thoughts on “You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan ARC Review”

  1. Congrats on getting an ARC 🙂 I tend to avoid contemporaries because of the lack of unrelatable characters. But I heard that the Symptoms of Being Human and Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda are good contemporary books to read.

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