eARC Review: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

“I guess Katie and I have formed our own rainbow alliance. It feels like she’s something I’ve always wanted but didn’t know I wanted until I got it: a partner in crime.”

You Know Me Well

Title: You Know Me Well
Author: Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Genre and Themes: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Friendship, LGBT
Format: eARC
Pages: 170
Read: May 2016
Rating:
3-stars-small

the book | the authors

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.

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My thoughts:

First, I want to say that I loooove the cover, and it may be one of the reasons why I requested for this book. Isn’t it pretty?

Yes, it is. Let’s start.

Mark and Kate are in love. Mark is in love with his best friend, Ryan. But Ryan doesn’t know (or does he?) and they’re in this setup when sometimes they do things that you wouldn’t do with you someone if you’re just friends with them. Kids nowadays, tsk. (Kidding) Kate is in love with Violet, her best friend Lehna’s cousin. She haven’t met Violet before but Lehna has been telling her things about Violet, and telling Violet about her. She’d seen pictures too, but they never communicated directly to each other.

Mark and Kate are Calculus seatmates. But for some reason, one of which may be they’re not in the same year, they never talked. They’re familiar with each other, yes, but they hardly talk. But one night, in one of the most emotional nights of their lives, when they’re feeling lost and confused, they met. They just clicked, and became each other’s confidante.

The characters are relatable in the way that they face the most common of teenage problems – broken hearts, friendly fights and being confused, you know those stuff. So they both had misunderstanding with their best friends. But instead of settling things with them, they decided their friends must approach them first before they actually talked to their best friends about said problems.

“In the context of our relationship, this counts as logic. We are just friends except for the moments when, oops, we’re more than just friends.”

Mark’s case, I quite understand, because his best friend is his problem. Or to be exact, his feelings for his best friend is his problem. And now that Ryan has found someone else that he liked, Mark figured he can either fight for Ryan or just let his feelings go.

Now I can really relate to Mark in this, having the dilemma of admitting his feelings to Ryan, in the risk of jeopardizing their friendship. What I can’t fathom is that they’ve been basically friends with benefits for years. At some point Ryan should have been aware about Mark’s feelings, but ignores it all the while. And even though he says the confession seems out of the blue to him, I think with their setup it is very far-fetched for one to not develop feelings for the other.

Katie’s on the other hand, I think the problem is they’d let too much time and space between her and Lehna over the years that it came to the point where even though they regularly see and spend time together, one seems unrecognizable and unfamiliar to the other. You know how sometimes friends grow apart despite being physically together all the time?

“Have you ever wanted something so badly that when it’s about to happen you feel this need to sabotage yourself?”

Also, Katie doesn’t do a very good job when it comes to handling overwhelming things. It’s like her default reaction to everything good happening to her is to run away. Oh, the girl she likes is coming to their town to finally meet her? She gets all nervous and walks away. She finally got a chance to have her work put in an exhibit, no matter how forced she thinks her addition to the line-up is? The moment she finds an excuse, she ditches the exhibit party. With all her friends and the girl she likes waiting for her there.

I have this tendency, too. Especially when I think myself as unworthy of the good things that come my way. But not every single time. It’s one of the things I hate about myself, so maybe that’s why I don’t like Katie that much. Not once did I have to keep myself from yelling at my reader to tell Katie she had to overcome that feeling and at some point go out and be proud of what she’s done.

In the end, I’m glad how things ended up for Katie. I just hope she got over her fear of being unworthy for good. Same thing for Mark, although I wished he had more time to mourn his unreciprocated feelings.

“An initial spark isn’t enough to sustain a friendship.”

But I’m still confused as to how Mark and Katie just clicked and became really close friends after just one night. I’d fall for it if they were at least acquaintances before, but it looks like they were total strangers sitting beside each other at Calculus without knowing anything about the other except for their names. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and think things turned out that way because they had literally no one else to turn to and be with, given that Mark is jealous of Ryan’s new friend and Katie had an argument with Lehna that night.

Overall, this is an okay book for me. I’m not sure but I think this is the first LGBT book I’ve read and I liked it more than I thought I would. And the takeaway that I should call my friends right now, and ask them how they’ve been just to not drift away and end up like Katie and Lehna. And oh, there was also a slam poetry part. I believe You Know Me Well is already out (pun intended) so if you’re into these kind of things, you may want to try and read this one.

Other Quotes:

“I am not good with quick decision making. I’m much better at obsessing for so long over a decision that the answer becomes irrelevant.”

“True art is about creation. What’s left after the creating is over is secondary.”

“It’s one thing to be wrecked by another person, entirely something else to be wrecked by yourself.”

“I hate that word. Straight. At the very least, those of us who are nonstraight should get to be called curvy.”

“Hiding and denying and being afraid is no way to treat love. Love demands bravery. No matter the occasion, love expects us to rise.”

***I received a copy of this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The copy I reviewed was an uncorrected digital galley. Quotes used may differ from the actual finished copy. It’s been weeks since I finished this book and I really hate myself for delaying writing this review. I’m sorry self, readers, and publisher.***

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