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'm not really sure where to start with this book. I thought it would be amazing; a book that made you think about family, love, loyalty, and how far you would go to protect them. Downham's You Against Me does make you think about all those things but not to the depth that I would have expected. I felt that while the author did explore the characters it was not a smooth development but rather it seemed sudden and abrupt. It also seemed to me that the relationship between Mikey and Ellie moved at a surprising pace, I would think it would have taken longer and that there would have been a lot more anger to deal with. What I did like is that this book isn't about the victim; in fact Karen doesn't get a lot of page time. This book is about what happens to everyone else in the family after such a devastating act and that is a side that you rarely get to see. I did liked that this book check you questioning who was telling the truth and who was lying. I liked that you don't find out the truth till the very end; it really helped to build the tension but honestly it doesn't matter what the truth is because the damage has already been done to both sides. Overall You Against Me was okay but once finished I didn't think about it again and given the difficult subject material that is dealt with in this book I felt that it should have stayed with me long after the last page.