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.
Review: You Know Me Well is a short and quick read, giving us a peek into the slice of life of two teens in their senior year. It's Pride Week in San Francisco and Mark and Kate have much to figure out about themselves, including how out-and-proud they want to be. Told in alternate point of views, we have to parallel running subplots. Mark hooks up sometimes with his best friend Ryan, but Ryan won't talk about it and open up about his sexuality. Kate keeps running away from opportunities in her life such as meeting Violet, her best friend's cousin, who has always intrigued her as a love interest.
Mark and Kate share the same Calculus class, but they decide to be friends when they spot each other at a gay club and each could use a confidante. Mark is much more open, wears his heart on his sleeves, and is easy going as evident in his fluid chapters. It does, however, take time to get use to Kate which I think is stylistically intentional. Kate has a lot of barriers, insecurity, and very critical of herself, but once she is able to work through her flaws and take control of her life, we can really see her personality shine.
Even though there is a romance discussed in the book, I really like how friendship between Mark and Kate take center stage in the novel. Mark and Kate quickly become close and help each other toward bravery, showing their vulnerability and flaws, as well as advising one another in their own romantic situations. Both of the characters are introspective, funny, and do not necessarily have all of the answers about their future even when graduation is on the horizon. Mark is still pondering who he is and who he wants to be and Kate is finally honest about her lack of enthusiasm for college and wanting to defer a year. It is also important to note that both teens are open about their sexual orientation and they move beyond the coming-out trope allowing them to just be like any other teen, which makes Mark and Kate even more relateable. I would recommend picking You Know Me Well up if you are a fan of Nina LaCour or David Levithan's work or if you ever wanted to try their books.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: There is some language, scenes of underage drinking, and allusion to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.
If you like this book try: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Aire Saenz