You Know Me Well
by Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Amount: 256, US Hardback
Let me begin this review by saying I really loved this book. LaCour and Levithan nailed the voices of Mark and Kate and weaved an intriguing and realistic heartfelt story. I haven't come across too many books where every sentence and every word makes my heart glad, but this book made me smile, laugh, commiserate, and give a hug to each and every character. This book is one of the most truthful and realistic books I have ever read. Nearly every young adult book I have read in the past has had a romantic storyline, but this book shows the reality that love can be unrequited. I am so incredibly overjoyed that LaCour and Levithan took risks with this small book and made this book relatable as well as enjoyable.
Although this book takes place over the span of a week and is only 256 pages, I was immersed in Mark and Kate's world. Sure, I wish I could be these amazing characters for a longer span of time, but the length of this book was perfect. There was not a single dull moment, and I found myself never wanting to put the book down because I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. Even though this book chronicles fairly ordinary events, it is extremely captivating.
As for the characters, I felt a deep connection to them since page one. Mark begins this book a little shy and hopelessly in love with his best friend, but as he becomes closer to Kate, he learns how to be brave. On the other hand, Kate is first seen panicking over her immense love for a girl she's never met and running away from everything that appears to be terrifying. Even though Mark and Kate are virtually strangers at the start of the novel, they become friends at exactly the right time: when both of them need a friend the most. I have seen a couple reviews where readers have said that their friendship began too rapidly, but to me, it seemed like a realistic portrayal of how incredible friendships are forged. When I think about how I met many of my best friends, all I can remember is being at an event where we instantly clicked. Therefore, I truly thought Mark and Kate's friendship was believable.
Another thing I really loved about this novel is that although it may seem like this book is all about navigating romantic relationships, this book is so much more than just a love story. The main focus of this book is on Mark and Kate's friendship, not the romantic relationships. Moreover, this book also covers many of the challenges that face teens in high school. For example, Kate has to deal with her best friend drifting away from her while also having continual fears about leaving high school and beginning college. I truly admire how the authors packed so many tidbits of life into 256 pages.