Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: You Against Me


Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Paperback: 413 pages
My rating: 7/10

If someone hurts your sister, you seek revenge, right?
If your brother's accused of a terrible crime, you defend him, don't you?

When Mikey's young sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.
When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world starts to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

My thoughts:

I was a little apprehensive about reading this book which is partly the reason why I have left it on the shelf for so long.
I find myself avoiding books that involve two characters in this way - characters that any reader knows from just the premise they are supposed to hate each other. You just know how the story is going to turn out just because it's been done so many times before. In addition to that, the book is about rape which, depending on how good the author is, can either be a really horrible read or one that puts everything about the subject into perspective.
Because this book is both of those things, it's no wonder I left it so long.
I did find myself itching to read it one day though so I picked it up and didn't put it down until I had finished. I wasn't disappointed at all. In fact I really wish I had read it sooner.
This isn't a read that I finished and immediately thought 'wow' or that it's one of my ultimate favourites. It was one that was purely a good read for an afternoon. It has all the good things that any good book has but it doesn't have that special thing about it that makes it amazing.
I really liked the writing and the way the narrative switches between Mikey and Ellie - it worked. It was nice how I relaxed into the writing style really quickly. It made it a very quick and easy read regardless of the story itself.
The way rape was handled was brilliant I have to say. It was so realistic that I had no problem relating to any of the characters involved. I loved the way the author wrote about the court side of things including police statements and standing to be a witness in court. I think not enough attention is payed to how difficult that would be not just for the victim, but for the accused's family if they ever witnessed anything. Ellie has to decide whether or not she can go through with being a witness for her brother - the book pays particular attention to how scary that would be. 
I really loved Mikey and Ellie. They were brilliant. Two characters couldn't be any more different and yet they were drawn together because of the circumstances they are both in. They drew comfort from each other - i loved it.
This is definitely a good read when you're looking for a quick afternoon read to pass the time.

Jenny Downham:


TylerRosexD said...

I literally just got this book from the library! I loved Before I Die, and this book caught my eye immediately! I can't wait to read it.

I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Canada said...

You Against Me is more interesting than most because of the points of view represented in the alternating chapters. The main case here is that a girl was possibly assaulted at a party, but instead of giving us narration from the girl and the boy, we receive insight from the brother of the girl and the sister of the boy, who intertwine in the midst of the whole situation.

Jenny Downham is excellent at expressing emotion and tension while still allowing the reader to form their own opinion. There was never a time while reading where I felt 100% behind an idea or thought. Part of the reason for this is because of the narrators being secondary to the possible crime, so they were sharing their own feelings while I tried to develop my stance.