Friday, July 6, 2012

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against MeYou Against Me by Jenny Downham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Jenny Downham's Before I Die and this book was just wrenching as it explored Mikey's reaction to his sister's assault; his downward spiral of lies and his families' dysfunction. As Mikey plots with his friend, Jacko to revenge his sister's honor; he crashes a party being given at the suspect's house fully expecting to get information on how he can make Tom Parker suffer the way his sister Karyn is; she won't leave their house, talk to her friends, or go to school. Instead he meets Tom's sister, Ellie and he begins to meet up with her (to find out information about Tom)and finds he wants to be with her and Ellie wants to know more about this mysterious guy. I really enjoyed getting to know Mikey and Ellie. Mikey doesn't have an easy life, but he is a charmer, girls love him and he desperately loves his mum (who drinks too much) and his sisters. Jacko, his friend is weird but you have to love him because he is a true friend who would do anything to help Mikey. Ellie was a timid girl, almost a nerd; very knowledgable and wants to help her brother, Tom. But she is conflicted throughout by what she saw, what she said she saw; and how to make things right. There is tremendous growth in Mikey and Ellie throughout the story and they were slow to "get together" but there were signs and I liked both of their reactions; they were honest with each other; didn't play mind games and were sure about how they felt but very hesitant about where to go with their feelings. As the story develops, you know as some point Ellie has to find out who Mikey is...hence You Against Me...but Jenny Downham builds a very believable story about drinking, sexual assault and family. This is my favorite part of the book- when Jacko confronts Mikey about Ellie: "When I first saw Ellie, I knew it was her- she was my fantasy. I didn't want it to be true, but every time I met her it was obvious, and the funny thing was that she was better than the fantasy, like I got more stuff than I'd imagined." p. 337

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