Stories can take us out of our own heads and put us into the heads of other people. I don’t think I’ve ever met myself in a story but I’ve certainly met many characters whose lives and personalities are very different from mine. I love getting inside the heads of these characters who help me to see the world from a completely different perspective. This is why I love David Levithan’s books so much. His characters are very real and always stick with me long after I’ve finished the book. David’s latest book, written with Nina LaCour, takes us inside the head of two lovesick teens, a gay boy, Mark and a lesbian girl, Kate, and their friendship that comes along at exactly the right time.
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.
I loved You Know Me Well but I didn’t want the story to end. I didn’t want to have to say goodbye to Mark and Kate. I carried them around with me everywhere while I was reading their stories and I kept hoping that they were going to get everything that they wanted. It’s a story about friendship, love, discovering yourself and having the courage to be that person.
Mark is gay and everyone knows this. He’s in love with his best friend Ryan, and the two of them have fooled around plenty of times in the past. Ryan, though, doesn’t seem ready for the world to know he’s gay and certainly doesn’t see himself as Mark’s boyfriend. Things get complicated when Ryan hooks up with a guy in a bar and starts a relationship with him. Onto the scene comes Kate, a girl in Mark’s class who he has never talked to. Kate is running away from the chance to finally meet the girl of her dreams. Mark and Kate get talking and realise that they have found the friend they didn’t know they needed. They help each other to figure out who they are and who they want to be.
It always amazes me how well dual-author books work. The two different characters and perspectives, written by these two fantastic authors, weave perfectly together. You really get inside Mark and Kate’s heads, feeling all of their insecurities, their heartbreaks, as well as their hopes for the future.
David and Nina show you how tough life is for LGBTQ teens as they figure out who they are, while at the same time showing you that they have the same problems as straight teens, especially when it comes to finding love. Although the story centres on a gay and a lesbian teen it’s ultimately about being proud of who you are, no matter what your sexual orientation.
I know that Mark and Kate are only fictional characters but I wish that I could check in on them from time to time and see where their lives have taken them. Grab a copy of You Know Me Well and get to know them yourself.