I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: You Know Me Well
Authors: Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
This fast-paced, whirlwind of a novel has so much potential for greatness. The plot is very unique and really keeps readers on their toes. However, the alternating perspectives were very hard to follow and the characters were not as developed as I would have liked.
If you like books that spin you around and spit you out at the end, You Know Me Well might be just the book for you. The story never keeps moving and its quick storyline actually had me setting this one down just so that I could digest the events in the book. The story takes place over the course of a few days and really encompasses quite a few details. Sometimes I was actually wondering if some of the events were very realistic for a contemporary novel. For instance, is it easy for 17 year olds to enter a bar in San Fransisco? It certainly isn’t where I am from and I had a hard time with the start of the novel due to this. There are some other things that take place as well that had me questioning their possibility, but to avoid spoiling the book, I will leave it at that.
I was really excited to read yet another David Levithan co-authored novel and unfortunately, this one does not measure up to his other works. Actually, I found myself enjoying the sections written by Nina LaCour much more. Levithan wrote from the perspective of Mark, while LaCour wrote Kate’s. Sounds like the perfect way to write a book with another author, right? Fusion conducted a wonderful interview with Nina Lacour on the process. Even though the perspectives changed with each chapter, I found myself constantly trying to figure out exactly which character was speaking. There were no distinct markings in the ARC version and this made my reading very laborious.
I am not sure if it was the quick nature of the plot or because two authors were at work telling the story, but it really felt as though I didn’t really get to know the characters as well as I would have liked. Kate’s character is the most developed in my opinion, but I would have appreciated a little more back story as to how she got to the place she was in emotionally at the beginning of the story and not the end. Mark was a character that was interesting, but the reader isn’t given lots of information about him. For a main character, I found this to be very annoying at times.
While You Know Me Well has quite a few interesting and exciting elements, I would have loved to have had clear markings in the text as to which character was speaking. Greater character development would really make this story so much more than it is. However, if you are looking for a fun and different kind of book it is worth a try.