You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour | THE DREAM TEAM

Title: You Know Me Well
Author: David Levithan & Nina LaCour
Pages: 256 pages
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Source: ARC from St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
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, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author ofNick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time. 

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**Thanks to the publishers for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of this book. This has not affected my review.**  

What's better than ice cream on a hot summer day? I'll tell you what is. When two authors decide to team up and write a kickass book! When I saw that the genre for this book was going to be LGBT I said to myself, hell yes this is going to be good. David Levithan and Nina LaCour have experience writing LGBT books so I knew this was going to be well-coordinated and just fantastic. As it is Pride Month, I couldn't think of a better book to read. 

Often times in YA, LGBT books seem to have characters that are confused about their sexual orientation. Too many to name actually- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Fan Art. They either haven't had their proper coming out moment, or are too afraid to face it. While in this sparkling collaboration, the characters embraced their sexuality!

In an interview with Nina LaCour she said, "The more I spoke to them the more I realized that we need more affirming and happy stories about all kinds of love. But especially stories about girls falling in love and boys falling in love." I assume that this book was her approach to inspiring young adults that love, no matter who it is professed to, is beautiful and wonderful in all its variations. This book did just that.

The strongest point of this book was the friendship dynamic between Mark and Kate. I mean, the whole idea of this book was how they both went from being complete strangers to best friends in seemingly one night, but it's more than that under the surface. Mark is gay. Kate is a lesbian. They both understand each other on a level where their straight friends, or perhaps parents, might not. They both face the same dilemma, which is confessing their love. Mark, who is falling in love with his best friend, and can't face that he might not like him back. And Kate, who has trouble telling a girl she's always dreamed of that she wants to be with her.

You Know Me Well was so well-written (ha, you see what I did there?). There was humor, tragedy and those lovey-dovey romantic moments that made the writing quick and easy to read. I think the technique that was put into writing this book worked well, under the circumstances. If you didn't know, it was a back-and-forth pattern between Nina and David, as they switched off writing each chapter (Yass I did my research). You could just hear their distinct voices come to life in Mark and Kate.

Oh, did I forget to mention that there's slam poetry in this book?? HOLY SHIZ I can't deal with how beautiful the poetry-reading was. The poems were written into the book as if you were reading it out to the audience. The poems broke up the story and held my attention. GAHHHH. Just well done!

** I took off a few stars because the story did get slow for me at times, and I did not agree with some of the side character's motives for doing what they did.

This collaborated-effort was a great example of the books we need to start seeing pop up in the Young Adult genre. An inspiring story of two teens that already know exactly where their hearts lie (lay? Sorry I'm not big on grammar) but just need help getting to the end of the rainbow (another Pride Month reference, ahhh I'm getting too good >_< ). A novel about how the person that knows you well might still be out there, searching for you.

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  1. Great review! I also really liked this one. I completely agree with you re: the friendship between Mark and Kate and I did like that both of them were already out and this was a different kind of story

    my review

    1. I also read your review as well and agreed with everything! It's funny how I never imagined Nina and David working together on something before.

  2. I just wrote up my review for this one today (haven't posted it yet) and although I did like it more than you, we do have similar pros in common. I absolutely loved the poetry slam scene! In fact, it inspired me to look up some slams around my area and possibly even participate in one. I did love their friendship as well and how it was platonic. It was very refreshing :).

    Jess @ Princessica of Books

    1. I want to do slam poetry so badly! It's just that... I have a serious case of stage fright. They are friendship goals, and I would someday like to meet someone out of the blue that knows me better than anyone else. Thanks for reading, and I'll definitely be sure to check out your review!

  3. This sounds like an interesting book! Lovely review!

    - @MissReadiculous

    1. WHYY THANK YOUUUU. I most recently went to meet the authors and they are literally the sweetest people on Earth. David Levithan with his sense of humor and Nina with her wonderful, glowing personality.


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