Book Review: You Know Me Well by David Leviathan and Nina LaCour*

I’m a big fan of YA fiction as you’ve probably
realised by now, so when I received an ARC of
You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour, I was
absolutely over the moon. David Levithan is, quite frankly, one of the absolute
KINGS of YA Fiction and obviously, I’ve read quite a few books by David
Levithan before (Invisibility and Every Day, to name a few). I’ve never had the
pleasure of coming across Nina LaCour before but I think I’ll definitely be
checking her and her writing out in the coming months as I absolutely loved
this collaboration.

The story introduces two main characters, Mark and
Kate, two characters who are completely different but have one vital thing in
common: they’re both LGBT teens fighting against the constraints of society. The
story alternates between their two perspectives, each written by one of the two
authors (Mark was from the mind of Levithan, whilst Kate came from LaCour’s
imagination.) I loved how the two characters met and became close friends in
the midst of an amazing adventure, despite having already sat next to each
other in a school class for an entire year, and I particularly loved how this
relationship stretched beyond the aftermath of this adventure. I think it’s
fair to say that I loved both characters on an equal measure, which very rarely
happens with me and I connected with them in ways I didn’t think was possible. I
loved how it presented love in differing yet beautiful ways, although some of
the novel was slightly naïve at times, I believe that comes with the territory
of YA fiction and love amongst teenagers. It shows the contrast of different
people’s personalities, with Kate trying to run away from love and Mark desperate
to clasp it with both hands.

I loved the inclusion of poetry, the references to art
and the mentions of technology such as Instagram which have become oh so
essential in our every day lives. I thought the transitions between chapters
was done pretty well, although it is quite obvious there’s more than one author
contributing to the story as their styles differ ever so slightly. I’d say that
this is definitely a good thing though, as you’re able to experience the story
from a variety of perspectives. I loved the moments of realisation the
characters had, particularly when Kate became aware of the fact that the
friendship she had formed as a young child might not last adult life as she had
expected. I loved how delicately Mark’s story of unrequited love was portrayed,
done in such a way that you were aware that there was absolutely no chance for
the couple, but also that that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance for love as
a concept in general.

I absolutely loved this story. It was a touching,
cheerful and easy read after some pretty tough novels and really gave me the
boost I needed to get back into reading after a bout of disinterest. I’d
recommend it to anyone who loves a good YA novel, is interested in reading LGBT
tales or else to someone who just wants a quick and easy read to ease
themselves back into reading.