Review Blog

Jul 04 2016

You know me well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

cover image

Text, 2016. ISBN 9781925355529
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. LGBT, Same sex relationships, San Francisco, Pride Week. When Mark goes to a gay club at the beginning of Pride Week in San Francisco, he is amazed to find a girl he knows there. She like him, is love struck, she for a girl she has not even met, he for the boy he came with but who is now with someone else.
Kate has had a date set up for her with a girl she has been fierce to get to know, but baulks at the last minute and runs away. She finds herself in a gay bar where Mark has watched the boy he loves going off with a stranger. Kate and Mark know each other vaguely from school, and they connect. Kate is at a crossroad. She has felt for a while that her friends are not as they were, that they are all growing apart. Kate and Mark both feel despondent and create a story about what happened to them that night, while Kate's friend uploads some of her art works and the pictures go viral, to such an extent that a gallery contacts her with the idea of a showing.
Pride Week is the impetus for some major changes in their lives not least of which is their growing friendship and ability to know each other well.
Each section of the book is headed with the day it is set, making the reader keep a chronology of overlapping events in their heads, and with alternate chapters written from the point of view of Kate and Mark, the story flows through Pride Week, taking the reader with it.
It is a classic tale of finding out who you are and where you belong, of trying out new experiences, of being brave, of reaching out to friends, of developing new relationships. The voices of Kate and Mark are excruciatingly real, revealing their deep fears of exposing themselves, of expressing their innermost thoughts. While both teens are mostly comfortable with their sexuality they reflect the concern of all teens in being themselves, of not following what others want, of treading their own path. I find Levithan does this so convincingly. In telling a tale of LGBT kids, he also tells a story that could reflect any kid and this ensures he will be read by everyone.
Fran Knight

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