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You Don't Know Me

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  8,635 ratings  ·  660 reviews
John ("My father named me after a toilet!") wrestles with the certainty that no one really knows him—not in his miserable home, and certainly not at school. It's true that no one can guess his hidden thoughts, which are hilarious, razor-sharp observations about lust, love, tubas, algebra, everything. And then there's his home: his father ran off years ago, so he's being ra ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 2001)
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Daniel Rubino to move some stolen tvs out of a a wearhouse then into a truck. then tells him him and his mom are getting married then takes him home

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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,635 ratings  ·  660 reviews

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Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Valerie by: Cara
A strange thing happened not too long ago that involved this book. I was browsing around Barnes & Nobles looking for new books to read when a (I'm assuming) teen couple skirted around me, keeping their held hands intact. I didn't give them much more of a thought until the girl picked up this book and asked her boyfriend excitedly, "Have you read this book?" After he told her he hadn't the girl said, "You have to read it. It shows how much douches parents can be." I got no such inclination from t ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
I’m taking a YA Lit class this summer and the professor included this book in his suggested reading for old school YA. I went into it not knowing anything about the author or even what genre the book is about. I wanted to be surprised. And I was.

I don’t really know how to accurately articulate how wonderful this book is. As I say about so many other novels, it is not perfect by any means but the writing is so incredible it makes up and then some for the little flaws.

Usually, when I am faced with
You Don't Know Me is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, sometimes perplexing novel about a teenage boy struggling to deal with his mother's abusive boyfriend, a crush on a girl unworthy of his love and a number of other issues many teenagers could probably relate to or at least understand. The story was littered with some of the most the-glass-is-completely-empty pessimism I've seen in any book in recent memory, but I tried to take it with a grain of salt, seeing how the author probably use ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Awful. Rotten. Horrible. Don't bother.

Klass took a good story idea and turned it into something weird. The teacher saves the day, but I didn't really care because I didn't really like John. I felt sorry for him and I wish he wasn't abused, but Klass didn't make me care enough. I spent all my time sifting through the negatives, the double-negatives and the weirdness of it all.

Don't bother. Read a cereal box instead - you'll enjoy it more.
Another book that makes you take step back and think, make you realize that you don't really know people. You see them, you see what they project out to the world but whats going on their inner most thoughts, what goes on when no one is looking, what their lives are really like you don't really know

Take for example John, he lives with his mom and her boyfriend, he feels that no one really knows him, his friends who are not really friends, his own mother even. No one knows that this man, who is n
Oct 23, 2008 rated it liked it
John you should have told Mr. Steenwilly in the first place and make up a plan to get rid of the man who is not your father. How can you just sit there and absorb the fact that that abusive monster was going to marry your mother. Running away wasn't in fact the best option. Think of your tired mother who's first priority was you all along. But I understand how you felt about not telling her. I understand what would have happened if she did not believe you. I also think you should have told the w ...more
Wendy Darling
May 10, 2013 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Wendy Darling by: Nafiza
Adding this because Nafiza told me to. I trust her, EVEN THOUGH SHE NEVER WROTE A REVIEW.
Dec 14, 2017 added it
This book "you don't know me" is about a troubled middle schooler named John who has many issues with his friends and some family members at home. His father is abusive towards him if he does not do what he is told to do immediately. His oblivious mother is not aware of the problems they have been dealing with because John will not tell her. This leads to John’s father continuing to push him into multiple situations. This story is directed towards the mom, and it focuses on how she does not noti ...more
Marianna Baer
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This had been recommended to me many times, but something about the cover and the first chapter always put me off. I had no idea it was so funny and quirky and genuinely wonderful. I loved John, the protagonist, so much that I thought I might not be able to read it all the way through - I was too nervous about what was going to happen to him. But I did and I loved everything about it.
Say Something
Feb 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
I must start this off by apologizing to anyone who enjoyed this book. I felt very differently about it, but I mean no offense. Oookay, so it sucked. It was literally one of the worst books I've ever had the misfortune to pick up. I may have missed something, some game that the author was playing that I simply didn't understand but truthfully, I wanted to punch John on just about every paragraph.

One of the first problems I had with the book was how young the narrator sounded, he seemed to switch
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 8th-11th graders
This is a very good book told from the perspective of a high school boy. It is told in stream-of-consciousness which really allows the reader to get into the character's head. Of course, this means that everything he tells you is biased by his own beliefs which is what makes this story so very interesting; we have no idea what anyone else is thinking, and we don' t know for sure if what he reveals about other characters is true. This adds an extra element to the story that may not be realized un ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
When I first sat down to read this book, I was expecting a novel that was about this kid just like any other searching to be heard - overly dramatic and full of angst. I mean, just look at the front cover -- and the title! After reading past the first chapter, I realized that I was fairly wrong. The main character, a teenage boy who is constantly (and rather harshly) abused by his evil, wicked, nasty, soon-to-be step dad is quite the guy. He has a unique imagination and a dark yet entertaining h ...more
Diazpaulina2 diaz
Feb 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was very funny and interesting for me. You will learn alot form these book it will teach you alot about life lessons. Although, this book was sometimes very funny it was also very sad at parts. During the book, John's step dad beats him every day for no reason. He just doesn't care what he feels. The book informs you with the teenage life and you can also connect with it. Furthermore, John who is the main character in the book is scared to give his crush a love note.One of my favorite ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-2010
John is a regular high school freshman. He doesn’t get algebra, he is terrible in band, he has a crush on the cute girl, and he can never seem to get his locker to open on the first try. But at home, things are different. His mother works double shifts at the factory and her boyfriend is an abusive alcoholic who beats John when she’s not around. Carrying this terrible secret, John can look at anyone in his life and realize that no one knows him. So he sets out to try to know himself by creating ...more
This was an okay book, probably aimed towards younger readers. It wasn't life changing but I can definitely see this book being read in high schools.

I did have some problems with this book though, mainly girls hating on girls and casual sexism/overprotective fathers but hey, this is an American book so I guess I should have seen this coming.
Jenna Buss
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book. The writing style was annoying, and the characters irritated me. Overall, I would not recommend this book.
Becca Akins
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trigger Warning: Child abuse, Mental health: the specific disorder is not mentioned therefore I do not feel comfortable labeling it but their are definitely aspects of some sort mental illness in this novel.

This book is told in a unique way. John is the narrator and describes the events as if he was talking with his mother whom he repeatedly tells, “you don’t know me.” John’s character while not Explicitly stated John seems to have some sort of struggle with dissociative disorder. We spent a lo
Morgan McNamara
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You Don't Know Me by David Class is an incredibly funny and somewhat sad book about a boy named John living in an abusive household. His father left when he was a child, his mother works long hours and is more shell of a person than she is a mother. Her boyfriend constantly abuses John when she is not around. The boyfriend who John calls "The Man Who Is Not My Father" threatens to hurt John's mother if he tells her what is happening. Meanwhile John struggles through problems at school in love, f ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book, I wasn't sure how I would like it once i started reading it but it is definitely one of those books that you just cant stop once you start because you absolutely need to find out whats going to happen. I did get frustrated with how the main character thinks and the way he words everything, but it also showed me that there are people who are like that or have lives like that and are really drained out, physically, mentally, and emotionally because of it. I was very sad t ...more
I stopped at chapter 14 and switched books.
Ashley O'Grady
I aboslutely loved this book. It was recommended to me by a friend and at first, I thought it was really slow but it was totally worth the wait. David Klass added real life situations into his story which made this so interesting and so truthful. It literally brought tears to my eyes, especially at the end.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-reading
Not one for me.

I liked the writing and the style was ok, but I couldn't really connect a lot with John. I think it was down to my issue with first person narrative - a story works the best when the author shows what is happening, rather than tells what is happening, which is hard to do in first person. So we have John telling us his step-Dad hits him, but because it's not shown it felt almost like another one of his weird fantasies.

Anyway, I found myself not bothered whether I picked this up aga
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was about a boy who did not trust many people because of the problems he had, like his mother not being with him a lot, his father leaving him and his moms abusive boyfriend. He feels alone and in his mind he looks at everything as fake, not real. The main message is that you are not alone, and the main character find out that he was the one that was wrong and that his mom would never leave him, he is not alone.
Max Ostrovsky
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
This was so bad, I don't even think young adult readers will like it. Unfortunately, I've had students who do like it so maybe I'm just not getting it.
The characters were so completely hyperbolic. For the inner thought narrative that could be considered magic realism territory, I accept and even expect the exaggerations of characters. After all, this is from the perspective of a young teen. But everything was so over the top that it went beyond cliche.
We've got the abusive father.
The over-pro
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning when I started reading, I couldn't stand this book. Not at all. But then I kept reading and the pages kept flipping. The truth is, I couldn't STOP reading.

All of the sudden I connected with the book so much. I felt like I knew the character and what he was going through in his point of view, like I felt the pain and desire he was feeling at the time. And when I think about it closely, I kind of did feel the way he was feeling. Literally.

It brought back memories of problems tha
Jessica Ng
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it
The very first page caught my eye. The author, David Klass wrote in first person narration where John, the protagonist talked to the audience. The way the author wrote made me see what type of person John was and made me more attached to the story. John has an abusive father, who he calls "not my father" and he is friends with this bully and a nerd. He has a crush on this girl name Glory Halleluja. He takes her out on a date, but he is very insecure throughout the book about himself. This book i ...more
Micaela Eliot
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
John, 14, describes his life, filled with the usual teen miseries: he has a crush on a manipulative, selfish girl, he doesn't get algebra, he has no good friends, and he's ignored at home and school. But he has a bigger problem is that his mom's boyfriend regularly abuses him and John won't speak up for himself. His mother has to leave town to deal with a dying relative, and John is left alone with her abusive boyfriend.

I greatly appreciate this book for its outstanding teen voice. You can feel
I don't know what I loved about this book, I just loved it. It took me a little while to get used to John's way of thinking - for example his 'house that was not a house' or his 'tuba that was not a tuba but was in fact a frog pretending to be a tuba.' That definately threw me off at first, but I got used to it. John's life may have sucked, but it wasn't like a lot of stories that I've read where the person's life is truly unbearable. (example - their parents were murdered by some mass murderer ...more
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Initially I was very skeptical about this book. I had picked it up last year off of my English teacher's shelf, and absentmindedly tossed it in the back of my locker. When I finally re-discovered the book, I sat down to read it and was captivated immediately. The writing style and narrator was unique and a bit cynical, which added to the atmosphere. I could go on a long while about the plot, the only complaint I have about the plot is that when Mr. Steinwilly saved the day, I was shocked. I didn ...more
Mackenzie RM
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books, 2010
At first, I really didn't like this book. It was really repetitive as John was constantly saying "you think you know me, but you don't really" or something to that effect. And I was honestly thinking of giving up on You Don't Know Me because it didn't seem to be going anywhere and I wasn't really into it. Now though, I'm glad I kept reading it. The ending was phenomenal. It was really touching and actually brought tears to my eyes. I just loved it. I would've liked to give this book 2 stars just ...more
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David Klass is the author of many young adult novels, including You Don’t Know Me, Dark Angel, and Firestorm (The Caretaker Trilogy). He is also a Hollywood screenwriter, having written more than twenty-five action screenplays, including Kiss the Girls, starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, Walking Tall, starring The Rock, and Desperate Measures, starring Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia. Klass g ...more

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