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Monday, October 3, 2011

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

I had You Against Me on my bookshelf for quite some time, and don't have a real reason as to why I hadn't picked it up sooner. This was right up my alley! This story is a very sweet romance between two teens who should absolutely hate each other. The fact that they overcome such insurmountable obstacles to be together makes this story addicting and engrossing. The entire time while reading You Against Me I just kept rooting for Ellie and Mikey!

The characters in this book are so real. Their development is so well detailed that you feel as if you actually know them, despite being fictional. Ellie is a very kind and obedient girl, with an abundance of knowledge and an intense loyalty to her family. Mikey is the boy from the wrong side of the city. His family isn't well off, and so he is charged with the responsibility to take care of his sisters. To do this, Mikey works incessantly in an attempt to keep everyone afloat. Individually, both characters are so strong and their personalities are vividly explained, but together, their relationship is so much stronger. They compliment each other so well and sacrafice everything so they can be together. It's the type of love any girl would be jealous of.

This story is definitely geared towards an older audience. There are some mature themes, specifically Karyn's sexual assault. However, this story isn't completely focused on the unforgiveable wrongdoings of Ellie's brother and Karyn's rape. Its an emotional story spotlighting the affects this situation has on the families involved. The contrasting reactions are raw and riveting and the entire story just sucks you in. What I love most though, is that throughout this story you'll be asking yourself, "What would you do?" Every page just invokes another question and analysis of your own morals and choices.

Although the story between Ellie and Mikey is beautiful, You Against Me is defintiely about much more than pure teenage love. It's gritty and emotional and very realistic. Not everybody gets their happy ending, but I honestly loved that about the book. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and have become an avid fan of Jenny Downham!


  1. Oh great review! I've heard many good things about this book. I love books where you can connect with the characters and get enough details to make them real. I'll definitely be reading this one soon!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. I keep picking this up in the bookstore but have never actually bought it, I think I'll have to after your review. I like really gritty books & realistic, well-developed characters so it definitely sounds like something for me.

    Great review! :-)

  3. I've had this on my shelf for quite some time as well (I ordered it from the Book Depository several months ago when it was only available in the UK). Great review! Sounds like the type of book I'd really enjoy and I'm moving it up in my TBR pile!