*I received the free ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
You Know Me Well is told through the voices of Mark and Kate. At the beginning of the story they aren’t really even acquaintances but they quickly become friends as each helps the other navigate the waters of their respective love lives. Mark has been in love with Ryan forever but Ryan seems to be looking elsewhere and Mark is having trouble letting go. Kate sees this and speaks the right works to help Mark find the healing he needs. Kate has a probable new girlfriend but she keeps missing there moment of meeting – either by fate or by her own decision to miss the opportunity. Mark takes his turn in Kate’s life to help her decide to go forward with the relationship.
Overall, the characters are what really made the book work for me. Kate had troubles with her best friend, was worried about her future and not confident in her talents, and struggles with commitment; Mark was an out and proud baseball player, completely in love with his poet best friend. These two characters were completely subversive of any YA LGBT character tropes I’ve seen (in the very few books I’ve read with LGBT characters!) and their character development and growth was nicely paced, even though it did take place in just a week. There was one character, however, that I didn’t like – Brad. It seemed like they took all of the gay male stereotypes they could have incorporated into the novel into him, and it just didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t like his character at all, and frankly, we could have done without him!
For David Levithan, I have not read anything of his’s novel. As for Nina LaCour, I have not read anything of her’s prior to this novel, and I was pleasantly surprised. I loved how she captured Kate’s personality in such a small amount of pages and I will definitely be picking up her other work in the future
This book spoke to my heart in such a peaceful, meaningful way because it affirms our place in YA and in the world.
There were so many places where this book could have dissolved into cliche, but it didn’t. The ending was just that much more beautiful because it wasn’t presented with a neat little bow. The writing and the characters are both fantastic. If I had to make one complaint, I do think Mark and Kate both seemed overly mature for their age.
All in all, recommended. It’s not a long read, but it is a good one.