I may have a different sexual orientation and be almost twenty years older than the narrators of David Levithan and Nina LaCour’s You Know Me Well, but they are the most relatable fictional characters I’ve come across in a long time. High school and its drama may be well behind me, but even in adulthood there are still struggles with love, loss, fear, becoming, and moving forward—all things that Mark and Katie face both together and alone.
In an effort to impress his best friend Ryan, the object of his affections, Mark takes a chance and puts himself in the spotlight at a Pride party. But his decision has some unexpected results; a girl from his calculus class recognizes him, and Ryan meets someone. When Katie sees Mark and approaches him with the request of becoming his friend, neither one knows what they are in for.
While Katie helps Mark deal with the ramifications of Ryan falling for someone else, Mark encourages Katie to confront her own relationship issues: her love for Violet, a girl she’s never even met. And when Katie and Violet finally do meet, Violet is everything and nothing that Katie was prepared for. Is Katie ready to take the plunge into romance? Is Mark ready to let go and move on, or will he fight for the person he has always believed was meant to be his?
You Know Me Well is the first book I’ve read from either author, and it will certainly not be the last. My heart ached for Mark as he encountered his first heartbreak, and my heart rate accelerated as Katie embraced the passion of a first kiss with Violet. In each of these characters, I recognized my own fears and revelations about love and moving forward in life. Just like Mark and Katie, I’ve experienced agonizing heartbreak and fear of the unknown—what I’m going to do with my life, who I’m going to become, and who is going to be there with me in the end.
You Know Me Well is the type of the book that will hopefully resonate with all types of readers, no matter their sexual orientations or ages. We should all be so lucky to find friendships as unique as the one that forms between Mark and Katie. Even while Katie questions whether it will be a lasting one, there’s no doubt in my mind that indeed it will.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.