Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Publisher:David Fickling Books
Publish Date: July 7, 2011
Paperback, 413 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult
 ISBN: 978-1849920483

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
My Review:
I was captivated when I heard about this book so I grabbed it when it came available through Amazon Vine. 

First off, this deals with some tough subjects.  Mikey's sister claims she was assaulted by Ellie's brother.  Mikey is upset by this and as a man he doesn't know how to handle it.  His sister won't leave the house and it seems like the boy will end up getting off for the crime.  Mikey and his friend decided to take matters into their own hands one night and end up crashing Ellie's brother's welcome home party.  But then Mikey meets Ellie.  And there is where the book begins.

Ellie is trapped in a world she can't seem to get out of.  All of her house seems to revolve around her brother and then all of that comes crashing down when her brother is accused of assault and goes to jail.  Ellie feels imprisoned in her own life until she meets the gatecrasher at her brother's party and then she feels inspired to do things she never wanted to do before.

But it's a Romeo and Juliet type romance and it's doomed from the start, or is it?  There are so many complexities in this book and Ms. Downham works through them in amazing ways.  It took me a little bit to get into the book, but once I got use to the British terminology and the beginning of the story worked itself out, I was entranced and found myself unable to put the book down.  I needed to know what would happen to Mikey and Ellie and their families next.  Te book puts you through the ringer, but  in a good way.  It deals with heavy subjects, makes you think, but all the time makes you believe in love, or at least hope.

I like the hope of the novel, yes it's heavy, yes it's sad in parts, but there is hope throughout.  To me this is a must-read.  It's a great contemporary and I'm glad I read it.  Give it a try, it just might be the book you've been looking for.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Parental guidance: Some language and sexual references and some sex that takes place mostly off page.  This book deals with mature subjects, so I suggest it for ages 15+. 

About the Book:
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.

About the Author (from 
Jenny Downham (born 1964) is a British novelist and an ex-actor. She has published one 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 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award.


FTC Information: I received this book from the Amazon Vine program for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository and B&, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.


Brenna said...

I thought this was such a neat premise for a book when I first heard about it back in July. I'm glad to see you liked it, because I've been considering it for a while but I haven't quite made my mind!

Brenna from Esther's Ever After

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Oh wow. This sounds intense and intriguing. I had never heard of this book before.

Portugal said...

You Against Me tackles some serious issues and the story is emotional, intense and beautifully written. The secondary characters had real depth and were important to the story. It was told from Mickey and Ellie's POV; I liked knowing how they each felt and what they were thinking. I loved the relationship between Mickey and Ellie although the ending seemed a little unfinished and I wished the story would have focused a little bit more on their relationship. The more I read, the more it became a good love story, just not the one I was expecting.

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