And now here we are, my top LGBTQ+ young adult book of 2016!
I read a lot of wonderful books this year, but this one really struck me.
So, I’m super happy to say, #1 goes to You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan!
This really was my favourite book this year; I actually read it again recently just to make sure it’s as wonderful as I remembered it from my first read back in the summer. And it was.
Without further ado, here’s the blurb:
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, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
I’ve been a fan of David Levithan for a while now, and while I haven’t read all of his books, I’ve read quite a few and I’ve enjoyed them all–especially Boy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green). I’ve also read and loved Nina Lacour’s Everything Leads to You twice now, and and her book Hold Still was also pretty great. Nina has another book out in early 2017 that I’m very excited for! Anyway, the point to this is that I knew I would love this book even before I read just because of who wrote it.
Mark and his best friend Ryan are in a bar at the kickoff of pride, where Mark has entered a dance contest in his underwear when Kate spots him. Kate has just run away from meeting her longtime crush, after she got nervous. Upon seeing Mark and realizing he’s the boy she’s sat next to in calculus for the last year. That’s when Kate decides she and Mark need to be friends.
Their bond forms quickly, and soon they’re wondering how they were never friends before. Mark helps Kate as she struggles to get out of her own way and decide if she’s ready for the connection she feels with Violet. Mark, on the other hand, is trying to cope with the fact that his best friend Ryan (who Mark sometimes fools around with) is interested in another guy, when all Mark wants is for him and Ryan to be together. But above all else, this book is about Mark and Kate and their new, but strong, friendship.
I really loved this most of all. I loved reading a book that, yes, has some romance, but above all focuses on friendships. That’s one thing that I really related to most. But also, I really related to Mark and his feelings for Ryan and not seeing them reciprocated.
But also, I love love love that this book happens during Pride, and that most (if not all, really) of the characters are queer.
This book is super important, in my opinion. We need more books that are full of queer representation. But also like I said, it focuses so much more on friendship than anything else, which is what really made it my favourite book this year. That’s why it’s my number one choice!