Thursday, July 7, 2016

YOU KNOW ME WELL BY NINA LaCOUR AND DAVID LEVITHAN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it's You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review! As always, all opinions are my own.



Right away, this book surprised me. In a good way. I had only previously read separate books by these authors, Every Day by David Levithan and The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. And while I liked those books, they didn't blow me away. This book, however, was really, really good.

There's no beating around the bush here, this is a true LGBTQA novel. Both the POVs are of a gay or lesbian person and this book takes place over the span of Pride week in San Francisco. And it was great! LGBT fiction isn't one I normally pick up, I don't avoid it, but I usually pick up stories about straight people, but if this is the caliber in which it is at, I will definitely pick up more of it.

The story follows Mark and Kate. After sitting together all year in Calculus, the two accidentally bump into each other at a gay bar and form a quick friendship, mainly out of desperation, for him avoiding his best-friend-who-he-loves-but-the-feeling-isn't-mutual and for her, avoiding her friends after running away from the girl she's been longing after for a year. They meet up and devise a plan to have a crazy night to show their friends how much fun they can have without them.

I really loved the characters in this book. Mark was great, he was shy and a little bit self-conscious but really sweet. He's willing to fight for what he wants, even if that means getting his heart broken and losing his best friend. I also enjoyed Kate's character. She was an amazing artist and everyone assumed that would be the career choice she wanted to follow, without asking her what she wanted. I definitely felt that, especially when I was unsure of what I wanted to take and where I wanted to go. Some people expected me to do one thing, and I think I wanted to do it because that was what everyone expected of me. Like Kate, I was unsure and I think she portrayed that uncertainty well.

The writing style was good, I think I preferred Levithan/Mark's POV the most, I don't know if it was the writing or if it was his storyline. LaCour/Kate's POV was good, but I found it a little lacking.

I also really enjoyed how real this book was. The romance wasn't insta-love and this book really shows that its not always a happy ending for everyone. It's not a depressing ending, but it's realistic. I also really loved how in terms of love interests, Violet and Ryan were fairly normal. Violet was a little bit romanticized for a bit in Kate's head, but I think that was mainly because of what Lehna had said about her. Other than that, they weren't this mysterious, unattainable goal that Kate and Mark were trying to achieve.

One of the other things I liked about this book was that they didn't force anything on you as a reader. That was part of my problem with Every Day, I just felt like the concept of ambiguity, sexuality and no gender assignment was pushed way to hard. It kept coming up every chapter and I felt overwhelmed. This book deals with those issues, and the characters sit down and have a conversation about progress that is being made and what being gay in today's world is like, and I really enjoyed that. But they didn't shove it down your throat. It was very here's the topic we are talking about, let's talk. I think a lot of people will appreciate this. Love is love, no matter who you are.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, very well done.