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.