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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Release Date: 4th January 2011
My Rating: 3/5
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?If 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 skilfulness 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 Review:
I'm really sorry to say that You Against Me fell short of my expectations. I know I will be in the minority for saying this so I will make this quick. While I do think it was a relatively good book, by the time I finished it I just thought, "Oh". That was it. It didn't leave an impression on me. I wasn't left thinking about the story and turning it over in my head. To me, it just lacked that certain something to make it stand out from the crowd.

As you can tell from the blurb, the incident that brings Micky and Ellie together is an alleged rape. This however is not the primary storyline. Instead, it focuses on how the siblings of the victim, Karyn, and the accused, Tom, are effected. Of course we do still see how both Karyn and Tom are handling things but it isn't the main focus. This is very unique and as well as examining the stress it puts on family loyalties, it highlights that there are consequences to the choices you make, including what happens when you fall for someone you know you shouldn't.

My favourite parts of the book were the times that Mikey and Ellie spent together; at the party, down at the river, in the cottage during the rain. Having said that, I'm honestly not a big fan of Ellie's. I like how she sort of spirals out of control as the things she has tried so hard to block out keep coming back to her. It's very real. But I still don't really like her, in the scheme of things, it's too little too late. She annoyed me. I had trouble warming to most of the other characters as well, including Karyn and Jacko. I did like Holly and Dex though, and I could fall for Mikey in a heart-beat.

I would also like to point out that I think the book title is fantastic, as is the black and white image with the yellow strip on the front cover. The scratches make it look, and feel, raw just like the subject matter.

So yes, I have mixed opinions about this book. I do however highly recommend you check out Jenny Downham's debut novel Before I Die, which is absolutely heart-wrenching, but amazing.


  1. I will let you know what I think when I eventually finish reading it. But I have to say, from what I've read so far it's no 'Before I die', that's for sure...

    Love Jules.

  2. I LOVED Before I die. So kinda cool reading your thoughts on this ~ makes me lower my expectations a little so I may enjoy it more, if you get what I mean :)

    Loved the review ~ you explained everythign really well. You have such a good reviewing style ~ I'm envious!

    xo Nomes

  3. Thanks Nomes! and haha yes I get what you mean.

    I bought it in hard cover because I was so sure I would love it but it's now 2 weeks since I read it and i can't even remember the end :( I hope you have better luck with it. xx


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