You Know Me Well
Authors: David Levithan & Nina LaCour
Release: June 7th 2016
Genre: Contemporary, YA
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.
Honestly, this book was weird and really unrealistic, so much so that I was immediately put off by it. I tried to ignore it and continue on without letting it bother me, but even though I did finish it, I still can't shake how uncomfortable some of the aspects made me feel.
Specifically, the insta-love and, get ready for it, the insta-friendship. What the hell? I didn't think this could even be a thing, but apparently, it can be. You see, Kate simply asks Mark if he wants to be her friend like a kindergardener, and then they are. Which, that in and of itself isn't too terrible, it's kinda cute actually. However, then they're suddenly super duper besties, who tell each other everything about their love lives and they feel at ease with each other, etc and so on, even though they've known each other for a single day. Uhm, what? They don't freaking know the first thing about each other! How can you just open up like that and spill so much of yourself to someone who hasn't even earned your trust or anything, really? It was so unfathomable to me how you could ever be that ... deluded and naive and how that would even work. I'm still thinking what the fuck.
And then there's Kate's "relationship" with Violet, which was laughable. You know, I have absolutely nothing against insta-love itself, like, it happens. Especially when you're young and just fell in love, really fell in love for the first time, things can move very fast and so on, I get it. What I do have a problem with is when it's then advertised and described as this great, epic love affair that changes worlds and is all-encompassing and whatnot. No. You literally met three days ago, you don't know whether she's the love of your life or whatever. Stop saying that! Just fucking stop. Kate literally heard stories about Violet and seen pictures and maybe stalked her social media before she met her; she's been obsessing over her non-stop for months and they didn't even talk once. Like, why did they never even text or chat or something if they have such huge feelings for each other? It's the 21st century, come on. They literally have zero interaction before they do meet and then it's suddenly this magical, enchanting thing that happens and I'm just sitting here, going "No????" the whole time. Fuck this shit.
And then there's Kate's relationship with her other "friends," whom she's constantly questioning whether they're her actual friends or not and such. I am a big fan of portraying things realistically and the truth is that this is indeed the case for a lot of teenage friends, that they've simply known each other a long ass time and that's why they stay friends, even though they have nothing in common (anymore). It's sad but true, however, I REALLY didn't like how that sort of friendship was portrayed in this book. Lehna was constantly such a bitchy and shitty friend, and even though Kate did kind of deserve it because she was a shitty friend too, Lehna's overall portrayal as a petty, vengeful non-friend was so inauthentic and harmful and, not good. I would have loved if they'd just naturally drifted apart, but not immediately, like ripping off a band-aid. There's maybe two or three scenes with Lehna and Kate (and their other two friends) and that's it, which is not a good portrayal!! It's not! I liked that they met up to talk about their issues in a mature way towards the end, but everything that came before that was just... a mess.
Kate and Mark themselves were okay characters, I didn't hate/dislike them nor did I particularly fall in love with them, but they were solid people. They had their flaws and were pretty well-rounded, but then again, I never really felt a connection with them, either, despite all that. And they're also the only characters who really get any actual character development or even screen time. Violet was such a boring, bland and standard cardboard cut-out and any other character isn't even worth mentioning 'cause chances are, they probably had three or four lines of dialogue and that was it.
All in all, I just really wasn't a huge fan of this novel. It didn't start out well, and it didn't really capture my interest that much either, and I didn't like the dynamics. None of them.