ivana18's Reviews > You Against Me

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
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Oct 03, 14

it was amazing
bookshelves: ya-fiction, favorites, romance-ya
Read in May, 2011

Thank you very much Law school because if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have had trouble sleeping and I wouldn't have read this book as fast as I did, it definitely deserves to be read in one breath.
This book was an all-nighter, and after I finished it (2:30 AM) I couldn't sleep for at least another hour thinking about it.

One of my first thoughts last night when I finished this book was: Romeo and Juliet meets Crime and Punishment.
This is a YA drama, and it's the best YA books I've read so far. It's real and angsty and funny and sweet and heartbreaking and heart-heeling, and it made me cry like a baby.

15 year old Karyn McKenzie likes 18 year old Tom Parker. One night they run into each other in a pub and Tom brings Karyn home with him. They drink alcohol and smoke pot. In the morning Karyn goes home, and 24 hours later she goes to the police and accuses Tom of rape.

But this story is not really about Karyn and Tom. This story is about Karyn's older brother, 18 year old Mikey McKenzie, and Tom's younger sister, 16 year old Ellie Parker, and the Hell they go trough while trying to deal with Karyn's accusation and Tom's claim that the rape didn't happen. One of them is lying, and in this review I'll try not to hint which one, and I urge other reviewers to do the same, or put spoiler warnings, because for 2/3 of the book we really do not know who's lying and who's telling the truth.

Mikey is trying very hard to keep his family together, his mom is an alcoholic and there's no dad to rely on. He looks out for his 2 younger sisters and his messed up mother. He brings food to the house, tries to take his baby sister Holly to school on time, and is trying to help Karyn deal with everything that's happened. He is extremely troubled by the fact that Karyn won't even go out of the flat, and that's she missing so much school that she probably won't graduate. He believes that Karyn's accusation is true. He's angry at Tom and wants justice and revenge.

Ellie was at the house that night when Tom brought Karyn and his friends back to party. When the police came for Tom it was like someone tore a piece of her heart. She loves her brother very much and believes him when he says that the rape didn't happen. She'll do anything to save him from being locked up.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, their worlds collide. They both love their siblings and are trying to protect them.. Ellie believes her brother's being truthful and Mikey believes Karyn....and somehow, in the midst of it all, they fall in love.

I've read some of the other readers reviews and was puzzled by them. It still amazes me that so many people think that the world is black and white, and that it is really easy to tell the difference from right and wrong.
Well sometimes there's no right and wrong, there's just wrong and wrong, and it is up to you to choose the lesser evil. Something that Ellie said explains it perfectly: She took her hands away from her face. ‘It isn’t going to be over, don’t you get it? Someone’s family’s going to be ruined – yours or mine, that’s the choice. We can’t run away. This is real life, Mikey!
From what I've read it seems that people don't understand Mikey's and Ellie's actions, don't understand why they did what they did in order to save/help their siblings....but I do understand because blood is thicker than water, and love for your family makes you do desperate things, even when you know that what you're doing is wrong.

What would you do? How far would you go to save your family?
(view spoiler)
This book brings out a lot of questions. There are no easy answers to these questions. I for one don't know what I would have done if I was in Mikey's or Ellie's place and I pray that I never have to find out the answers for myself.
Rape is a very difficult crime to prove in the court of law. It is a horrible crime that affects not just the victim but their family too, and in many cases it affects the family of the accused. And a false accusation is just as bad. Sadly, both the victim and the falsely accused are branded for life.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine how is the tone of his book?

It sounds completely awesome but the book I'm currently reading has a similar plot and sounded completely awesome but has the most annoying bubblegum type tone.

ivana18 Well, bubble gums don't make me cry....and this book made me cry like a hungry, sleep deprived baby with a serious case of diaper rash. IMHO it definitely isn't a bubblegum type of book. It's angsty and surprisingly very "grown up" for a YA book.

message 3: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine score. I will definitely read it. The one I've got now I keep thinking "is this what it's like to read jodi picoult. I need a better one and this is it.

ivana18 hahaha....I haven't read any jodi picoult yet so I wouldn't know. Hope you like this one.

message 5: by Squallogal (new)

Squallogal ivana wrote:
It's perfectly fine SQ, maybe next time.
Laters babe."

Thanks sweety.

message 6: by Amber J. (new) - added it

Amber J. this review solidifies the fact that I need to buy this book ASAP, thanks for helping me make tough decision =)

ivana18 Amber J. wrote: "this review solidifies the fact that I need to buy this book ASAP, thanks for helping me make tough decision =)"

You're welcome Amber, I hope you'll love this book as much as I did and I hope you'll let me know what you think of it :)

ivana18 Jana wrote: ":) You seriously write excellent reviews. Why not do them more often?"

Ditto :D
Your write amazing reviews too. I just read your Judith McNaught reviews. She's my favorite HR author. If you know some other HR authors that have a similar writing style as Judith McNaught please! tell me about it because I need some good HR books.

This year I'm in a rut when it comes to writing reviews. I have a bad habit of not finishing books and that seems to happen a lot this year. I guess I just don't have enough time or inspiration to write reviews right now. But I try to write as many as I can, especially if I feel strongly about a certain book.

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