Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “You Against Me” as Want to Read:
You Against Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

You Against Me

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  17,664 ratings  ·  1,419 reviews
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?

If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you?

When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.

When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey/>If
Hardcover, 413 pages
Published December 2nd 2010 by David Fickling
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,664 ratings  ·  1,419 reviews

More filters
Sort order
L A i N E Y
This book was a piece of heaven for my little bruising shipping heart...

One of the most achingly beautiful moments for YA couples ever. But I kept reading and it happened again - a scene more memorable than the last. By the time I'm close to finish this was my thought "okay this is getting ridiculous". Tenderest of moments upon even more lovely scenes, both together and apart, I just...... it was hard to comprehend how much I felt for these two.

I made this sounds like a fluffy, romance-heavy book and it"o
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: starred-2011, ya, 2011, 4
3.5 stars.

You Against Me was one of my most anticipated books of 2011. So much so that I was 100% sure I would give it 5 stars. Jenny Downham's debut Before I Die left me a sobbing mess (I am in a minority here thought, most of my co-readers did not join the cryfest). I expected the same from her second novel. You Against Me was good, just not as good as it could have been.
“It was strange how words meant something when they came out of your mouth. Inside your head they were safe and silent, but once they were outside, people grabbed hold of them.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Wow, what beautiful ending. And book, actually. Extremely unique, fascinating and honest.

High Points.
Ellie. Mike. Trust. Doubt. Truth. Lies. Perception. Bracing rivers. Baked potatoes. Old cottages. Bunking classes. Cookery. The future. Team Karyn.

Low Points.

Even though I liked the romance between Mikey a/>High
Nov 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
i feel such pressure to write a really great review for this book, because it is so impressive on so many levels, but the post-turkey-day fatigue is strong in me. i will do what i can.

you probably already know what this book is about, because it is really quite popular. so just quickly. to get us all on the same page, i will just reiterate that it is a story bout a rape, from the perspective of the brother of the victim and the sister of the accused, who form a relationship in the bu
Lauren Kate
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Stayed up all night to read this recently. Wonderful.
Emily May
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, young-adult, 2011

Well... finally, a much-anticipated book that actually delivered. After being so hyped up about 'Matched' and then being let down with it's mediocrity, I tried not to get too excited about this book and prepared myself for another monumental disappointment.

But no.

I'm always rather dubious when it comes to romance novels; if you find a good one then you can be reeled in and swallowed up, it can stay with you for a very long time... but so often this is not the case. The amount of times I've dared to enter into a romance
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
Most seem to love this book. Isn't it annoying when you're the odd one out? :/

Let's get on to my thoughts, shall we! ;)

When Ellie's brother, Tom, is accused of assaulting a girl, his family is pretty supportive and stand by him. The thing is, they're so busy supporting him that they don't even freaking ask him if he actually did it, I mean, talk about baffling! Meanwhile, Mikey' sister, Karyn, has locked herself in her room ever since they found out what happened to her.
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Reynje by: Jo
3.5 stars

When I was at the beach as a kid, I used to regularly do this thing where I would swim out as far as I could, just to see how much distance I could cover. I’d swim until my arms got tired, then stop to catch my breath before turning around. I never stopped doing it, but I’d be lying if I said that every single time, I didn’t experience a second of sheer panic when realized I was just suspended there, well and truly out of my depth.

I feel a little like that trying to write this re
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
3.5 stars.

I tried to explain the plot of this book to several of my friends at school, and while some times it went successfully, there were other times when it didn't. On the surface, You Against Me is about Mikey, whose fifteen-year-old sister, Karyn, has been raped. The young man charged with raping her, Tom, also also has a younger sister named Ellie. Mikey and Ellie meet each other and begin to form a bond, but their connection may bring devastating consequences.

When e
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations before I started this book. I can safely say my expectations were pretty much met. The book didn't blow my mind or leave me emotional. (Not to say the book didn't make me feel anything. There were times I was happy and angry and worried.) But for the most part, I had a calm feeling. The setting even felt calming. I liked that.

I thought the author did great with the characters and relationships. They felt realistic and believable. There were times when some of the chara
Jillian -always aspiring-
You Against Me by Jenny Downham (author of Before I Die) is one of those books where the book blurb reminds you a lot of a Lifetime movie. You have a boy and a girl, joined by the sordid details of a crime and accusation involving their siblings. The boy is planning revenge in some form while the girl, unaware of the boy's intentions or identity, slowly begins to fall for him. It almost sounds like Romeo and Juliet meets a Dateline crime special. How can this end well on either side?

Mikey is struggling to balance work
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This issue alone would usually have me steer clear of a book like this. I'm a paranormal junkie and the occasional contempory romance YA reader, but when it comes to serious issues I tend to stay away...I guess I like reading escape more then reality, but once in awhile a book comes along and you read the reviews and my curiosity seems to get the better of me. You Against Me is one of those books and I'm so glad I took the chance on this one since I would have missed out on a really great read.< ...more
♥ Sarah
Nov 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Warning: Possible spoilers, but not really. Also, kind of a long rant and full of complaints – continue if you're contemplating on reading this. Otherwise, you might want to skip this review.


Initially, I was intrigued and instantly drawn to the premise, because rape was being explored through the eyes of the victim's brother and the perpetrator's sister. Further, issues of loyalty, revenge, forbidden- Romeo & Juliet type love, etc. were brought up. However, these themes were never
Rating: 3.5
I should have written a review for this one awhile back but to be honest I didn't know what to say exactly. It is no doubt a powerful novel and I wanted to make sure I would say the right things... well time has gone by and I still don't know what to say so here goes nothing.

Now for those of you who don't know the premise it's a twisted one. Mikey has a sister named Karyn and Ellie has a brother named Tom. Karyn has accused Tom of raping her. Well Mikey can't stand for that, so t
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book from the moment I heard about it.. But, while waiting for it to be published, I read Before I Die first (and I didn't really liked it) so I didn't know if to read "You Against Me" after all, no matter how many good reviews I've seen.

But.. yesterday I gave it a try and now I can't stop wondering why in the world didn't I read it earlier?
It was that good.

The title is perfect - and it doesn't define only the relation between Ellie and Mickey, but also the relation between all the characters because a
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about two families affected by the accusation of rape. It doesn't focus on the accused and accuser, but rather on the sister and brother of the two parties.

This story is told from two perspectives: Mikey McKenzie, the older brother of the accuser, Karyn, and Ellie Parker the younger sister of the accused, Tom. The story opens up with Mikey trying to figure out how to make Tom pay for what he's done to his sister. Mikey feels he needs to do something because since the rape, Karyn r
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was immediately drawn to this book once I'd read the blurb, and I'm glad I picked it up, as it was an amazing read. As the book deals with such a tricky theme you would expect the book to be quite depressing and morbid, but its not, it was so full of ambiguity, suspicion and it is very moving, that I just literally couldn't put the book down I was that absorbed. It was a well written book as I enjoyed how it showed contradiciting stories from both families. This book has definately made it to ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Honestly I’m not sure how I feel about that book. I can’t say I despised it it would be pushing it and I can’t say I liked it…it would be too nice. When I finished my initial reaction was “Ehhhhh” which for the people who know me means ‘not terrible but could have been so much better’ in Steph’s language.
No Seriously, I don’t know if I went there with too high of an expectation, I read the summary a few months ago and was just dying to read it since then. I expected something like Leaving Parad
Reading You Against Me was like listening to a recording on high speed. All the characters' reactions seemed extreme and drastic and I couldn't understand where they were coming from at all. Downham seemed to be trying way too hard to make her characters seem relatable but they ended up seeming stiff and orchestrated instead.

Maybe my life's too sheltered, but I simply couldn't see this story happening in RL. It wasn't brutal enough to be believable and it wasn't normal enough to be realistic eith
Elizabeth Scott
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jenny Downham is a genius and I wish I had one-tenth of her skill. Or could just live in her head for a day to see what it's like to be so brilliant. One of the best dual-narrator books I've read in ages, and page 409 (of the UK version--I couldn't wait for it to be published here, although I think it just came out in the US) make me cry every time I read it because it's raw and hopeful in a way that breaks my heart and makes me want to believe at the same time.

It's so late it's almost morning and I finished this book. I am filled with emotions. It's such an honest, brave novel, and I adore the characters to pieces.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This review is harder to write than I thought.

Seriously, I've started and erased it enough times to have written it twice. Alas, I am short on words, have been for quite some time, so forgive me if this doesn't come off as particularly articulate or... well... making sense.

I discovered "Speak" last September, following the 'soft porn' debacle, and fell in love with Laurie Halse Anderson's writing. Her books are always centered around difficult, touchy topics, but you can'
3.5 stars


Actually, I really don't know what to say. *sigh* This was a compelling and powerful read but after I finished the book, for some unknown reason I don't know what to feel. Actually, I still haven't figured out my overall and final say about this book but I'll give you my initial thoughts while I was reading it.

You Against Me was a novel that discussed a delicate and tricky issue. I may have steered clear of this book a
Jan 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Plot: Mikey's sister says a boy raped her. Ellie's brother says he didn't do it. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide

Sounds interesting enough right? WRONG!
The blurb is far more interesting than the book itself. The book concentrated on all the useless things we didn't want to know about. The plot was very weak, it was just plain boring.
"She wrote her name on the top of the sheet and underlined it. The ink was blue"
It was useless sentences like this that made the book so boring.

Oct 23, 2010 rated it liked it
If I'm honest, this book is probably more of a 3.5/5 for me, but it definitely doesn't deserve to be dropped to a 3.

Downham's writing is superb. I hated Before I Die, but You Against Me is a lot more basic, stripped down, interesting and realistic. There's no florid language to draw an artificial reaction out of you; this is two characters and a situation. This is gritty, heartfelt and honest. The characters are lovingly drawn and flawed, but relatable. The ending is a great balance
Lauren (
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma and other dark YA contemporary
Check out my book blog for more reviews!

You Against Me is a intriguing, brilliantly written novel by the author of Before I Die. The cover makes it look like a love story, which it is not. Well, not just a love story. (The love story is good though. I need to stop saying ‘love story’ now. Okay.) It’s a story about relationships, not just between lovers, but between family members and friends too. It’s about loyalty, the truth, bravery, and how far we would go to protect the people we love.

I bo
Samantha Young
You Against Me is an incredible and beautiful addition to contemporary YA. Set in the UK, Jenny Downham gives a stunning portrayal of two families struggle to deal with the consequences of rape. Mikey and Ellie are our two main characters – Mikey is the brother of the rape victim and Ellie the sister of the accused. From the very beginning of the novel the reader does not know who is telling the truth and the more the facts unfold, the greater the emotional struggle becomes. What I loved most ab ...more
Summer Campbell
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
‘There’s this girl at school,’ she said. ‘Last term she had seven boyfriends and everyone said she was a slag.’

This again. ‘You’re not a slag, Karyn.’

‘And there’s a boy in my tutor group and he had ten girlfriends. You know what they call him?’

Mikey shook his head.

‘A player.’

‘Well, they’re wrong.’

‘So what’s the word for someone like him?’

‘I don’t know.’
Sarah Marie
You Against Me by Jenny Downham

4.5 stars

What would you do if your sister accused somebody of rape? What would you do if your brother was the being accused? Mikey McKenzie’s younger sister, Karyn, accuses Tom Parker of raping her. Mikey vows to protect Karyn and starts a plan to make Tom feel the pain his sister feels. When his friend Jacko says he wants in they decide to go through with it. Mikey ends up Tom Parker’s front porch in hopes of acting out on the plan, but he meets Ellie, Tom’s little sister. Ellie tellsstars

What would you do if your sister accused somebody of rape? What would you do if your brother was the being accused? Mikey McKenzie’s younger sister, Karyn, accuses Tom Parker of raping her. Mikey vows to protect Karyn and starts a plan to make Tom feel the pain his sister feels. When his friend Jacko says he wants in they decide to go through with it. Mikey ends up Tom Parker’s front porch in hopes of acting out on the plan, but he meets Ellie, Tom’s little sister. Ellie tells Mikey of a party for Tom’s bail and he and Jacko attend hoping to get information. What Mikey doesn’t expect is that his plan will turn into something completely different when he meets Ellie. Ellie is tired of constant revising and worrying if her brother really did what he was accused of. Mikey becomes someone she can truly be herself around and she loves that, but what will happen when she find out who Mikey really is? Even bigger what will Ellie do if Tom really did do what he was accused of? I wasn’t expecting this to be told in alternating POVs, but I think it was done beautifully. Once again I’m in love with a book by Downham. After reading Before I Die and being blown away I’ve hoped that Downham would release another book. I saw that she had and this book has been on TBR list for a whole year. I wasn’t expecting to be on such an emotional journey. I didn’t cry like I did with Before I Die, but I had so many emotions. I think that’s what makes Downham such a great writer. She elicits emotion in her writing and stories. I’ll admit the synopsis on the jacket hadn’t drawn in me and I was wary of it, but that wariness went out the window with just a couple of chapters.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.75

The main female character is Ellie. I really liked Ellie. She was relatable and strong, but she questions things and worries like a person. I always felt like Ellie was real and not just another character. She had a story and it needed to be told. I did hate how easily she could be swayed by her father. It angered me because she it’s obvious that she loves her father, but her father isn’t always looking out for her. Ellie did eventually break away but I understood her sorrow and it’ll never be the same in her household.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.75

The main male character is Mikey. Mikey is also very real. I loved how he was very human and wanted to protect his family. He was more of a father to his sisters and it shows how he loves his family. I don’t like how he thinks so little of himself and there was a point towards the end of the novel where this becomes a big part of his thoughts. But he is only human and humans doubt their selves all the time. I loved how he was just as caring towards Ellie as he was his sisters. I also enjoyed his dream of being a chief and I hope it’s a dream that he reaches.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 4.5

The Villain- This is the part of my review that I don’t want to talk about it… it’s just a big part of the novel, but this sums up my feelings.

[image error]

Villain Scale: 4.5

There were quite a few supporting characters in this novel. Jacko, Karyn, Holly, Mikey’s mother, Tom, Ellie’s parents, and Dex are the ones that are more prominent. I have mixed feelings about Jacko. I liked him at first, but I started to feel like he did more harm to Mikey than good sometimes. I still like him though even though he can be a real jerk, but he’s real and he’ll always be there for Mikey even when Mikey’s doesn’t want him to be. I like Karyn since she shows how a teenage girl deals with rape, but I can’t say I like her as a person. I don’t think she deserved what happened to her and I wish she wouldn’t have gone to the party in the first place or that her friend wouldn’t have left her there alone. Compared to her little sister Holly she is isn’t as radiant in life, which I understand because of what, but even towards the end when she starts going outside again I feel like she’ll never be truly happy again. Holly is probably my favorite of the minor characters. I feel like she was the one thing to brighten up Mikey’s life before he met Ellie. Mikey and Ellie’s parents are both very dysfunctional and need to get their lives together before they can do healing. Mikey’s mom seems to be doing that though. Tom should fall in a whole. I hate what he did to Karyn and her family and his family. I don’t like him and he’s a villain but not THE villain. Ellie’s dad should fall in a whole with Tom. I get that he wants to protect his son from going to jail, but he has a daughter and he needs to think about her too. Dex was Mikey’s mentor and always there for him and was like a father to him.

Character Scale: 4.75

All of these characters are real. They have substance and a place in the story. I did have a problem getting used to the heavy British slang though. I haven’t read a book set in London or its surrounding areas in a long time. It became easier to understand their slang after a while, but it took time. I also don’t like how it seems like Downham doesn’t use periods after addressing a superior figure. I remember that she didn’t do that in her previous book, but every time I would see Mr I wanted to scream and write periods in the place of where it should be. I couldn’t do that since it’s a library book and I don’t like writing in books. I like how both Ellie and Mikey wanted to get information out of each other at one point and it backfired. It was probably one of my favorite scenes in the novel. Downham didn’t disappoint and I hope she writes more books because she is definitely one of my favorite writers as of this book.

Plotastic Scale: 4.5

Cover Thoughts: I actually like the cover. Call me crazy but I think it’s beautiful. It fits this book for some reason.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Too...dragging? 11 103 Aug 14, 2014 12:48PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: You Against Me by Jenny Downham/Start Date:July 6th 2013 7 25 Jul 08, 2013 07:20PM  
It's like a roller coaster! 1 36 Dec 19, 2012 07:48PM  
Realistic Fiction 1 30 Oct 28, 2012 02:54PM  
What's the Name o...: Contemporary YA : Heroine's Brother Raped Hero's Sister [s] 3 94 Oct 23, 2012 05:30AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Raw Blue
  • Boys Don't Cry
  • My Beating Teenage Heart
  • Freefall
  • Entangled
  • Invincible Summer
  • Try Not to Breathe
  • Harmonic Feedback
  • Winter Longing
  • Like Mandarin
  • Tell Me a Secret
  • Naked
  • Playing Hurt
  • The Piper's Son
  • Other Words for Love
  • Paradise
  • A Little Wanting Song
  • But I Love Him
See similar books…
Jenny Downham (born 1964) is a British novelist and an ex-actor. In her first book, Before I Die, the fictional account of the last few months of a sixteen-year-old girl who has been dying of leukemia for 4 years. The book is told in the first person. The book was acclaimed and was short-listed for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 ...more
“It was strange how words meant something when they came out of your mouth. Inside your head they were safe and silent, but once they were outside, people grabbed hold of them.” 228 likes
“Sometimes if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. If you miss someone so desperately that it wrecks your insides, you say their name over and over until you conjure then. It's called sympathetic magic and you just have to believe in it to make it work.” 181 likes
More quotes…