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You Against Me

You Against Me is a YA contemporary novel by Jenny Downham, author of the bestselling Before I Die.

Eighteen-year-old Mikey is trying to hold everything together. His sister Karyn has been sexually assaulted by Tom Parker when she partied at his house. She’s become terrified of leaving their home, refuses to go back to school, and only just got the courage up to report what happened the day after. His mom is handling it by drinking more – so Mikey is juggling work, taking care of his little sister, and watching Karyn disintegrate. He needs to be a good brother and seek revenge – right?

Sixteen-year-old Ellie Parker is shaken by the crime her brother has been accused of. She’s being named the only witness and his best chance of getting off. Everyone is telling her what a liar and loser Karyn is – and she tries to agree. Her brother says he didn’t do it, after all. That would make Karyn a liar then… So she needs to be a good sister and defend him – right?

When Mikey and Ellie meet, Mikey’s trying to get at her brother – but he’s disarmed by her virtuousness, her intelligence, and the magnetism that seems to pulsate between them. They both feel like their betraying their siblings, and the ugliness is a heavy weight on them both – yet their feelings seem to grow…

This is the story of their worlds colliding.

You Against Me is a stark, bleak, genuine and sad take on a harrowing crime and how it effects those around the victim and the accused. I immediately believed Karyn’s story, yet when we switch viewpoints to Ellie – you almost wonder. The author paints a portrait of persuasion and denial that is convincing and unsettling. It’s uncomfortable.

I was struck by the psychological repercussions, reaction, and fallout of the Ellie and Mikey, siblings to those involved. How they deal with the pressure, the fear, and the expectations of those around them is hypnotic. It’s awful, disconcerting, frank, and raw. Yet there’s a optimism, inspiration, and fledgling love that feels like a spot of light in the night – though even that is marred by the situation. You as the reader dare to hope for something better, a happy resolution, but know that in the end – someone will be hurt.

You Against Me is poignant, painful, and complicated – just like life.


Ceska said…
Awesome book. Very gripping, this is one of those books that had me from page one. Mikey is someone who at first I didnt think I would like, turns out he is the good guy in this story. Mickey's life is pretty hard and he turns out to be much more than a bad boy. He is what we all want, the bad boy with a soft caring center! This book is tender, but it also has the interesting story line of The Trial. I like the way that we don't know what happened until the end, it is almost as if Ellie has suppressed some bits and it is slowly revealed to us what really happened. Great book really loved it, both aspects of the trial and of the love story are enthralling. The thing that made this an awesome book, as with the hunger games, Beautiful disaster and harry Potter, is that this book contains characters that you get addicted to. They are believable and when you are not reading this book you think about it and what will happen. the characters are totally absorbing. Refreshingly different from the usual 'Love Triangle' teen romance.

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