Sunday, June 4, 2017

REVIEW: You Know Me Well by D. Levithan + N. Lacour - 2.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM
Title: You Know Me Well
Genre: YA LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance-y
Author: Nina LaCour + David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Publication: June 6th 2017(paperback)
Cover Rating: 2/5

You Know Me Well came out last year. It was on my to-read list but I just never ended up picking it up. Well, I have the book now and I read it in less than three hours. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad, it was just pretty mundane for these authors. I know there are plenty of people who will love this book but I, sadly, wasn't one of those people.

LGBTQ+ books are very important right now. The world has made great progress in the ability to accept ways of life that aren't their own. So it is very important that LGBTQ+ books be informative and accurate. Yes, this is a fiction book but it takes place in a very real area and the situations and characters are very real as well. Sadly, this book did no take that into consideration. I feel the this book is a misrepresentation of the life of the average LGBTQ+ person. How can I say this? Well, for one, I am bisexual. Yes, I married a man, but that does not change who I am. So I have plenty of experience and can say that this book isn't good. The book puts forth this idea that if you are queer then all of your friends will be queer. Unless you intentionally seek out other queer folk and decided you don't wish to be around straight people, this isn't very accurate. The book also depicts a world that is a lot more accepting of the gay community than what is real. I would not want someone confused about who they are reading this book and taking away from it that everyone will love and accept them. Yes, that is how it should be. But, no, that isn't how the world is, no matter how much we hope and pray for it.

Plot:
I'm not even sure what I can say here. There was no plot. The book contained a multitude of LQBTQ+ characters and that was the plot. These characters aren't special or extraordinary. Nothing happens in this book other than people living their normal, boring, mundane lives. But maybe that is the plot. Our generation, as a whole, seem to love watching people vlog their daily lives no matter how mundane. So maybe the authors are actually very ingenious in writing this book. But, sadly, it was just not my cup of tea.

I was thinking maybe pride could have been the plot for this book but there really was only two sections that were pride related and the rest of the book was nothing but drama and one characters inability to accept that her art was good enough to have secured her a spot at a great college.

I do not believe this book was an accurate depiction of the life of a LGBTQ+ individual. Living in the real world, we know how unaccepted being gay still is. There was no negativity in this book. All the parents were fine. All the kids at school were fine. There was no hate crimes or negative words spoken against any gay person. Everything just felt too accepting and more like a fairytale than an actual story about the lives of these teenagers.

Characters:
The book is told through the eyes of Kate and Mark. Both are queer. Both have a lot of crap to figure out. One is in love with their best friend and one can't accept that their artwork is good enough to have actually secured a spot at an amazing college. One is very indecisive and runs away from their problems. One is in denial and the other almost ruins their chances with a person they think is beyond amazing.

For this book having so many characters, they were all shockingly one-dimensional. We have our two main characters but each person has a bunch of friends that are pretty common throughout the book. The only one who had somewhat of his own personality was Ryan. The girls that Kate considered her best friends felt like the same person just in 2 or 3 different bodies.

Oh! Did I mention that every.single.character.in.this.book.is.lgbtq+? I think, aside from parents, the only character in this book that wasn't queer might have been the art gallery director woman. But we don't get to see her for very long so who knows. Now, don't take this the wrong way and assume I don't support the gay community. It's the exact opposite actually. But, I don't support, what I feel like are inaccurately depicted stories about how it is to live in the world when you are queer. Unless you are a queer snob, not every one of your friends will be gay. Not everyone will accept you for who you are. It would be amazing if that was how the world worked but it's not and I don't want a younger person picking this book up and thinking this is how life is.

World building:
None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Normally that is fine. The book took place in California. So not much world building is needed. BUT. This book was beyond lacking in any description of where the characters were. Aside from being in 'the city's or school or the art gallery, there was nothing. If those book had been fantasy, I would have been lost in a paper bag someplace.

In the end, I gave the book a 3.5/5 rating originally but after writing the review and really thinking about it, I had to knock the rating down a bit. The book was a very quick read and had an okay romance plot, so if that sounds like your thing then, I guess, you should give this book a shot.

Also, having read both of these authors separately, I can say that this book was unlike either of their previous works. Both authors usually wrote pretty good books with actual plots but together, they just feel very bland. David Levithan has done a good bit of collaborations with other authors and none of those books were like this one. I will continue to read the authors separately but if they do any more collaborations in the future I might read it but if that, too, is bad, then I will just have to mark them off my buying list.

Overall, I gave the book 2.5/5 stars.



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