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

You Know Me Well
Author: Nina LaCour & David Leviathan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT
Released: June 7, 2016
Review Source: St. Martin's Griffin

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.

You Know Me Well is two stories wrapped together in a way that is new and unexpected to both Kate and Mark, a senior and junior in high school, respectively, who have sat next to each other all year in math but have never said one word to each other. This whole story spans one week, and what a week that is, full of surprises, self-discoveries, and a whole lot of challenges.

 Kate is finally going to meet the girl of her dreams, a girl she had been pining for for so long that now that the moment was so close, she wasn't entirely sure how to feel about it except terrified. Mark is at his first ever gay club with his still-in-the-closet best friend who he may or may not be completely in love with and is trying in a way that isn't really trying, to get him to see that. And it's on this night, when Kate is terrified and confused that she ends up leaving her friends and girl of her dreams, to wander around and entering the bar that Mark and his best friend are at, although neither of them knows. Their friendship begins in a totally random but totally genuine way and the way they just click and are there for each other from the beginning is incredible to read about. Kate finds it so easy to open up about her fears to this new friend and Mark too, finds it easy to share his feelings about his love for a person who might not want it.

This is the story of two people who go on this epic journey of self discovery and find that maybe things aren't that bad after all. That there is the possibility of anything being possible if they let go a little and see the truth of that. Without giving too much away, there's a scene at the end, when all these people are together to celebrate the truth of themselves at the Pride Parade and that whole scene is written in a way that makes you feel like you're right there with them in the middle of all that beautiful chaos. It was refreshing and incredible to experience it. I highly highly recommend this book to anyone who's feeling a little lost or little scared, someone who wants to get lost in a story about love and friendship and the intricacies of both and how they come to you when you least expect them and need them most.

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