Book reviews

Review: You Know Me Well

For a fairly short read this is a book worth savouring and taking your time over. Find yourself a secluded spot, snuggle down and enjoy this story of love and friendship.

Mark and Kate sit next to each other for one class at high school and despite there being only a couple of weeks left before the summer break they’ve never actually spoken to each other. It comes as a bit of a surprise then when they spot each other at a gay club in the city, especially given that Mark is dancing on the bar in only his underwear at the time. What could easily be an awkward encounter is quickly swept aside as they discover that they both might be just the person the other needs for this point in their lives. You see Mark is desperately in love with his best friend Ryan, who following a number of hook-ups is giving off extremely mixed signals. As for Kate, well she’s just run away from the opportunity to finally meet the girl she’s loved from afar for months. In the space of two weeks and 250 pages the pair discover that friendships don’t always take the path you think they will and that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to find true love.

Being a fan of David Levithan I knew that I was unlikely to be disappointed in this book and I’m happy to say that remained the case. There are some gorgeous lines throughout the story, ranging in length from one sentence to entire paragraphs. They make you stop to reflect on them and if I was the type of person to bookmark such things as I know many other readers do, I’m sure my copy would be littered with tiny paper tags. The theme of being ready for love, and indeed life in general, has a number of these moments, with one of the earliest stand-out lines being:

“You’re never going to be ready,” Lehna says, her voice warming somewhat. “Don’t you see that? You have to forget about ready. If you don’t, you’re always going to run away.”

The writing also makes sure to hit you with the abject misery of increasingly likely unrequited love, as well as the fear of not being good enough for the world. As a result you do find yourself feeling rather sombre for a lot of the book, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of joy as well. The last few pages in particular are beautiful and you can’t help but wish you were part of Mark and Kate’s group of friends as they celebrate Pride together.

Goodreads rating = 4 out of 5 stars.


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