You Know Me Well is a dual perspective LGBT+ story about teenagers Kate and Mark and the love lives that they are desperate to have.
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.
I really enjoyed this book and think that Nina and David did a fantastic job of writing a story about love, with friendship taking centre stage. Both Kate and Mark’s stories could so easily have stood alone as teen-romances and yet combining the two to create a book about friendship is what makes this so special. As both characters are gay it’s made very clear that Kate and Mark will not have any romantic storylines together and I really, really liked that. The friendship that was presented was real and raw, and felt more true than many that I’ve read before.
There are lots of ‘coming of age’ topics explored in this book as well as friendship. First love, self worth in and out of relationships, independence, identity, and university are all touched on which I thought was wonderful as every reader regardless of their sexual identity can relate to You Know Me Well.
This is a very diverse book and features a whole spectrum of LGBT+ characters. All of the main characters are gay and the overall cast is made up of people of all identities, all of whom are celebrating being themselves at San Francisco Pride. I also particularly like that LGBT stereotypes were challenged – Mark is on the baseball team, and it’s revealed that the flamboyancy of another gay character was an act put on for work.
You Know Me Well is a celebration of LGBT+ culture and is an absolute pleasure to read. All aspects of LGBT+ life are explored and issues including stigma and abuse are touched upon in a sensitive but powerful manner. I much preferred this to Will Grayson, Will Grayson (the only other story by David that I’ve read, and he wrote this with John Green) and would definitely read another story by David and Nina in the future. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone looking for a story about friendships and first love!
You Know Me Well will be published by Macmillan Children’s Books on June 2nd – thank you to Beatrice at the Federation of Children’s Book Groups conference for my proof copy!