My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: June 7th 2015
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Love, Friendship
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.
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.
I don’t want to write a single word. I will, but it pains me to. You see, I thought David Levithan and I had this connection. We used to bond fairly well and just… understand one another. He amazed me.
Now I’m not so sure anymore. I don’t know Nina LaCour—haven’t read anything by her—but I don’t think her co-writing this book is the problem.
You Know Me Well is so incredibly inauthentic.
So we have Mark and Kate. They’re not friends. YET, in the span of one night, they become the best buddies the planet Earth has seen. They have nothing in common, except, maybe, the fact that they’re both gay and afraid of love.
‘You’ve never told him,’ Violet says. It’s not a question. It’s obvious. ‘I tell him all the time—I just make sure it’s never when he’s listening. I say it when he’s in the other room, or when he’s asleep, or when the music’s really loud. Sometimes he asks me what I just said. And I tell him never mind. Or I make up something else, something that isn’t ‘I love you.’
Mark has been in love with his best friend—sometimes friend with benefits—Ryan FOR YEARS. But he never had the courage to tell him. Kate is crazy about this one girl named Violet who she never met but has heard so much about by her best friend whom, may I add, she doesn’t even truly consider as a ‘real friend.’
Somehow, Mark and Kate JUST CONNECT. Just like that. They meet, and they click. It’s like insta-friendship. Normally I do tend to believe in that—hey, I’m not that cynical—but for two people to become intimate friends after only a couple of hours spent together? That doesn’t work for me. They barely know anything about one another. Hell, Kate, Mark could have been a psycho, for all you knew!
‘Admit it,’ Violet says. ‘You could both use a little clarity in your lives.’
And ever though I have done enough soul-searching for the night, I know that I can’t let Violet down again, so I grab Mark’s hand and lead him over.
Did I mention that Kate is madly crazy about Violet, so much that she stressed out her life the night she was supposed to meet her and bailed? So why does she continuously drag Mark along everywhere she goes? It’s supposed to be Kate and Violet’s date, but Mark is always there. It was hard for this book to be romantic, when the authors focused so much on the insta-friendship between Mark and Kate.
‘Maybe I just moved too fast for you,’ she says. ‘Maybe it was stupid for me to kiss you like that. ‘No,’ I say. ‘It was amazing. It was the most romantic moment of my life. I’ve replayed it thousands of times since it happened. I want to kiss you again. Please trust me. I want to kiss you right now, but you deserve to be kissed by someone who has her shit together. So I’m going to get my shit together, and then, if you still want me, I’m going to kiss you.
Wait, is that supposed to be romantic? That paragraph is made of clichés. If you remove those, there’s literally nothing left.
Another thing that characterizes this book as inauthentic is Mark’s rapidly falling out of love. As I mentioned, he has been in love with Ryan for a very long time, but the latter never thought of him in that way. Sure, they’re fooling around, but it’s nothing deep and serious. When Ryan finds someone else to fool around with, Mark feels angry, betrayed and so, so sad. Yet, in the span of a couple of days, he just… accepts it and ‘moves on’. WHAT THE HELL.
He’s your best friend. You’re madly in love with him. You want him to be your boyfriend—that’s what you’ve always wanted. Don’t come telling me that seeing him with someone else doesn’t shatter your bones. Don’t come telling me that you can just go on with your life and participate in activities with both Ryan and his new boyfriend, JUST LIKE THAT. Hell, there’s a reason why most people don’t stay friends after they’ve broken up, but that’s what Mark and Ryan do. Maybe they weren’t boyfriends per se, but Mark took their friends-with-benefits relationship very seriously.
One last thing that disappointed me: the repetition. Alright, I’ll admit that the writing style is lyrical and reads beautifully, but I bet the story would have had four less chapters had there not been so much repetition. I’m not going to provide you with an example, because the quotes I’ve shared already give you a good idea.
NAY TO THE BOOK, BUT YAY LGBT.