Thursday, June 30, 2016

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
There’s nothing quite like reading a book that takes place during Pride month, in San Francisco, with two LGBT main characters, during Pride month for real. I loved this book. There were a so many things I loved about this book.
For starters, I loved that at its core, this is a friendship story. Yes there’s love and heartache, but the main focus is friendship. And the dual point of views are between two friends (and not future romantic interests). That alone makes this stand out in a good way. I love that it starts at a club during Pride week. The two characters become besties after Mark wins a dance contest at the club (a dancing in your underwear contest). Kate just sort of announces to Mark that they need to be friends and then they are.
I love this! This is actually how I became friends with one of my best friends from college (minus the whole half naked dancing thing). Though, their friendship reminds me more of a different friendship I once had with a girl going through a very similar situation to me with an on again/off again boyfriend that was no good for her. But whatever, I love that these two became friends this way. I have found friends this way.
I also love the setting. These are kids who escape for Pride parties and parades. They accept people, all people for who they are. And never (besides maybe in a poem written by a side character) is this a book about hardship. It’s a book about acceptance and love and figuring out what you want and what you don’t want. Yes, I know hardship is a real thing, and I read a lot of books that cover it, but it’s just so refreshing to see a book that puts the LGBT community in such a peaceful, happy light.
That being said, I couldn’t help comparing this work of fiction to the very real stories of those killed in Orlando. I kept thinking what if this happened to them? What if this one true, magical safe haven of a place was destroyed for these teens who so very much needed it?  And I think these are the best kinds of books, the ones you can connect to the real world, and the ones that make you think. On the surface, this is a fluffy LGBT romantic comedy of a book; yet, there’s something so real about it that it’s hard not to make some connections to the much sadder world we live in.
I loved the characters. Though, I liked Mark more than Kate. Kate was so afraid of things. She reminded me of Lena from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She’s believable. I can see someone being like her. I just don’t connect with her and understand her like I did Mark. Poor Mark. The side characters were great too. There were some seriously good poems put in during a scene where they all go to an open mic. There’s parties, clubs, parades, art shows, new friends, old friends, crushes, broken hearts, and so much more.
The one thing I don’t like relates to the ending for Kate. She makes a decision for what appears to be all the wrong reasons, for me. And everyone accepts this as her finally coming into herself and going for what she wants. To me, it came off as running afraid, again…but whatever. Other than that, I ate this book up. I read it in under 24 hours. And I must find more books by Nina LaCour. I think I’ve already read everything by Levithan. I give this a 9/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment