Book Review : You Against Me by Jenny Downham

5 Jul 2011

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Date of Release:  02 December 2010 (UK); 04 January 2011 (Aus)
Rating: 4 stars


Goodreads Synopsis: 
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.


My Thoughts: 

This book had been on my TBR shelf for a while and wow, it was an amazing read! This book left me with conflicting emotions and on more than one occasion I was left to ponder what I would have done had I been the character. A book that leaves one with lingering thoughts is always a fantastic read!

The book revolves around Ellie Parker and Mikey McKenzie whose families are both experiencing very heartbreaking ordeals. Ellie's brother Tom has been charged with sexual assult and their family must do everything possible to prove his innocence and prevent him from going to prison. Meanwhile, Mikey's sister claims that a boy has assulted her and Mikey has vowed to seek revenge for his sister's sake. Yet, what will happen when Ellie and Mikey meet?

Throughout the entire novel, I could not help but ask myself :"What would I do If I was in her situation?" Would I defend my brother and save the family or would I tell the truth and watch as my family fall apart bit by bit. Those are the challenging and conflicting thoughts that will spin through your mind when you read this novel. Downham has truly captured the sense of loyalty one feels towards one's family and the mixed feelings of love and betrayal one might feel under such distressing circumstances.

Downham has written a marvelous book showing the mind of a typical teenager and the consequences involved after a night of drinking and flirting. She has shown how the society will react to a situation where the victim clearly liked the guy she claimed to have raped her. She writes about denial, the refusal to believe the truth and how lying and making up excuses for oneself may provide answers but in the long run, can one really keep a secret of that extent?

As much as I thought the book could have been more intense, You Against Me was still a fantastic read! I highly recommend this book to older readers 16+ due to sexual references, underage drinking and drug references.


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