Friday, July 1, 2016

You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Levithan Review

Title: You Know Me Well: A Novel
Author(s): Nina Lacour and David Levithan
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I've never read the work of either of these authors until this collaboration, though they are both huge superstars in the young adult fiction arena. Frankly, this novel just makes me even more excited for their individual work. I loved this novel, plain and simple. It was a rollicking, beautifully tender coming of age tale. It was like getting a warm hug from a close friend when you're at rock bottom--or at least the literary equivalent of it. (Which I needed, because The Raven King killed me, but moving on.)

You Know Me Well tells the dual story of Mark and Kate, two young, gay people who are lost, afraid, and more than a little overwhelmed by life. They meet by chance on one crazy, busy night in the middle of San Franscisco, and instantly bond. Together they try to navigate the trials of first love, the future, and who they really are, with a ton of personal insight and bracing, self-deprecating humor peppered through the crazy parts.

The pacing of You Know Me Well was breakneck, and honestly it felt like Kate and Mark were two long-lost friends from my own high school years. I was utterly entranced by the narrative, smoothly moving between Mark, who is working on years of pining for his in-the-closet best friend, Ryan, and the painfully shy and anxious Kate, who has been longing for a friend's cousin named Violet. Thrown together by chance and their own anxiety, the two teens become fast friends, and find themselves in the process.

This book was lovely--the perfect combination of humor, teen angst, well-developed and hilarious characters. At times, though, it felt like the angst took the focus of the story a lot, and it kind of put me off of the story for a little bit. Overall, though, this book is one of my favorites of 2016, and a wonderful addition to my summer reading!  The bottom line: A fantastic, wonderful coming of age story, You Know Me Well is one of my favorite reads of the year--full of humor, angst, and self-discovery! Next on deck: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman!

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