If you’re looking for the perfect summer read about first love, Pride and friendship, then this is the book for you!
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 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 book is one of my favourite YA novels of the year. It is an ode to the LGBTQIA community, friendship and Pride. I loved it so much!
Being candid to a complete stranger is sometimes easier than sharing your true feelings to those closest to you. Mark doesn’t want to admit he is in love with his best friend Ryan. Kate doesn’t feel at ease with her role in her group of friends but isn’t sure how to explain it to them. Yet when Mark and Kate meet at a gay bar before pride week, they hit it off right away. Though they go to the same school, they’ve never really spoken to each other before. They bond after realising they’re both gay. They start telling each other about their lives and decide to help each other out with their respective love interests.
I think the book brilliantly captures the feeling of community, when you’re surrounded by people like you and come together to celebrate. There is so much happiness buzzing in the book through the sheer joy of being at Pride and in that positive, welcoming environment. You can meet people from every walks of life during Pride. There are some really lovely scenes between Mark, Kate and older members of the community who help them.
The book is also about first love – the love that’ll literally take over your life, the love that’ll make you act like a complete idiot, but also the love that’ll open your eyes. You never feel the same after this first all-encompassing love, whether you go out with the person or not.
One of the many things I found interesting is how Kate decided to be called Kate at the beginning of the book instead of using ‘Katie’ which is what her family and friends call her. There is a certain part of growing up that is about figuring who you are, away from the people who feel they’ve always known you. Kate felt the ‘Katie’ she had been didn’t fit her anymore and she has been trying to figure out who she wants to be.
I could go on and on about this book! I think if you want to read about what happens after you come out and about the start of your queer life as a young adult then this is the perfect read.
David Levithan and Nina LaCour are two incredibly talented writers and this book brings their voices together, creating the most brilliant characters and heartwarming story. I loved it through and through and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books and NetGalley for the proof!