Book review: “You Know Me Well” by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Let me start with saying that I really enjoyed this book (in some ways more than I expected), even though it is your typical “in love with your best friend/high school/coming of age/figuring things out” type of story. I have read too many of those and only because it was by both authors that I read and enjoyed previously, I picked it up. (And also because it was my pick for BookTube-A-Thon readathon.)

I read very few books which were co-writing and recently the one that I read (by indie authors) made me cringe so hard as I could totally tell who wrote which part and the switching point of view was not working at all.

This book is written extremely well. I read books by David Levithan (for whatever reason I only vaguely recall his writing style) and I read “Everything Leads to You” by Nina LaCour (which I liked but found too slow placed for me), so I expected to be able to tell exactly who wrote which part – and it is quite obvious, even before you pick the book. BUT even though POVs of Mark and Kate are different, they have their own voices, they do compliment each other and you don’t get the feeling as if you are reading two separate books. Writing was great. It was more paced than I expected it to be and equally heartwarming (and heartbreaking) and funny.

The parents are barely present in the story, which is typical for these books. Both Kate and Mark at times seemed a bit older than they were.

Even though both of main characters in the book are gay, it is not the focus of the story. The focus is on the relationships: Mark is in love with his friend and Kate is in love with a girl, she has not met yet. There is no “coming out” aspect in the story at all, which is really refreshing. Nobody is agonizing over being gay or coming out to parents. The focus is on relationships and feelings. I was worried this might turn into another “coming out” story but thank goodness it wasn’t. Thank you, David and Nina!

There were some parts that I did not particularly like. For example, how hard Kate was trying to impress that girl or how Mark and Kate were ready to lie to seem cool, essentially. Even though they said that they would tell the truth if asked directly.

Both Mark and Kate are very easy to relate too. Their characters would have been rather cliched (Mark is into sports and Kate is very artsy) if they were less two dimensional. Both Mark and Kate have certain fears and feel the pressure of expectations. Kate is suffering from anxiety and the fact that it is never really addressed directly as a mental health issue made me a bit disappointed.

In many ways this book reminded me of less known “Anything Could Happen” by Will Walton. It has a similar story line (without added perspective by Kate) and a similar ending. If you like your heartstrings to be played with and you are feeling nostalgic about your first love at high school – read this book. (And also read “Anything Could Happen” and “Simon vs Homo Sapiens Agenda” because those are very similar in tone and feeling, and after reading this you will probably need Simon to make you feel better.)

This book has several quote worthy lines and I had fun reading it.

Personal rating: 4.5 stars

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