I tried to explain the plot of this book to several of my friends at school, and while some times it went successfully, there were other times when it didn t On the surface, You Against Me is about Mikey, whose fifteen year old sister, Karyn, has been raped The young man charged with raping her, Tom, also also has a younger sister named Ellie Mikey and Ellie meet each other and begin to form a bond, but their connection may bring devastating consequences.
When examining this book beyond its surface, its about many different things family, loyalty, love, doing the right thing, etc It doesn t focus on the victim of the rape or the rapist himself, rather, it shows the perforating effect of the act on those standing in the periphery Packed with pathos, this book will make you feel the emotion and the tension as the conflict climbs higher and higher.
However, You Against Me had its faults The story seemed like it was floundering and going nowhere in some sections, but in others I was wishing Downham had described the drama in detail The romance, while good, was questionable both of your siblings are involved in a rape and you decide to go make out It felt a tad rushed and unrealistic Finally, none of the characters were likable Not sure if that could be considered a bad thing, but at times I wanted to reach into my Kindle and let loose some serious slapping.
Overall, a unique book in terms of how the scenario of rape is handled, as it shows the process of the families coping as opposed to the victim and the accused themselves I wouldn t recommend it to any random person I met on the street, but if the plot summary grabs your attention, I would recommend you give it a try cross posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Stayed up all night to read this recently Wonderful.
It was strange how words meant something when they came out of your mouth Inside your head they were safe and silent, but once they were outside, people grabbed hold of themInitial Final Page Thoughts.
Wow, what beautiful ending And book, actually Extremely unique, fascinating and honest.
Ellie Mike Trust Doubt Truth Lies Perception Bracing rivers Baked potatoes Old cottages Bunking classes Cookery The future Team Karyn Low Points.
Even though I liked the romance between Mikey and Ellie, I m not sure whether it would have progressed so quickly in reality I think, with a subject matter like this one, there would have been a lot anger in there and it would have taken longer for them to turn to each other and realised how they felt I kept getting muddled with how much time had gone past in this book, it could have been a little clearer But that s only a little quibble the rest was absolutely brilliant.
Oh Ellie You had me conflicted throughout most of this book One chapter I thought you were ok, the next I loved you, the next chapter I was screaming Ew, if you re going to come back fighting don t liken yourself to Jean fricken Grey Do you not remember how that ended , and then I hated her Really hated her And then I loved her again And I ended on loving her.
Ms Downham did a beautiful job with Ellie, a girl in an unimaginable and horrific situation.
But Ellie, my love, stop jumping in rivers Yes, it sounds fun and edgy and cool but we live in Britain and you ll catch your death Hero Mikey, mind if I call you Mike I don t like the name Mikey, it makes you sound about five.
I was a bit worried about you first, partly because you were playing a dangerous game with Ellie and also you were carrying a spanner Which is never good.
But then I warmed up to you as the book went on and I mean really warmed up to you You re a bit of a one, you make no apologies, you re loyal to your family, you re sweet with Ellie and your friends, you have dreams and you know how to cook.
I didn t hinder that I was totally picturing you as a Tony Stonem Boom.
Theme Tune This was a difficult song to choose because, as I ve mentioned before, there were so many issues and emotions covered But I ve decided to focus on the, as Mikey said, the best thing that came out of this whole thing You Make it Easy by Air He felt perfectly happy as he walked side by side with Ellie, their fingers occasionally brushing, electricity building between them It was the first time in days, maybe the first time in all his life, that he didn t want to change anything This book wasn t a love story but there was definitely love in it Sadness Scale.
It would be really easy to dismiss this book as a modern Romeo Juliet story If it had believe me, this book would have been flung out of the window so hard and about teenagers coming together in exceptional circumstances But as much as I liked their relationship and it was sweet and tactfully done, I felt this story was about so much than that view spoiler If a girl is drunk and is raped, it s her fault because she was the one who put herself into that situation, right Or if she chooses to wear short skirts she s obviously asking for it , right If a girl has had previous sexual partners she obvious wants to have sex with everyone, right And if she goes around to a boy s house it s an invitation for him to do as he pleases right hide spoiler i feel such pressure to write a really great review for this book, because it is so impressive on so many levels, but the post turkey day fatigue is strong in me i will do what i can.
you probably already know what this book is about, because it is really quite popular so just quickly to get us all on the same page, i will just reiterate that it is a story bout a rape, from the perspective of the brother of the victim and the sister of the accused, who form a relationship in the busted pieces of all of it.
which is already, like woah.
because when you are dealing with this situation, in literature, the impulse is of course to focus on the victim it is powerful that way, right to showcase the pain and the humiliation and the fear and the aftermath and how one goes about picking up the pieces of their life in a situation like that.
because here, on the outskirts, the ripples are just as strong, and this book does such an amazing job of depicting how rape affects people on the periphery of the situation people who were not even present at the time in such profound ways mikey s impulse is to protect his sister, and to physically destroy the boy who did this to her ellie s impulse is to stick loyally to her family, and believe her brother when he says he is innocent.
exactly zero of the characters in this book are sympathetic or likable, but the writing overpowers their broad impotent rage or their wishy washiness or their latent sexism or their naivet you will get sucked into the story, despite wanting to give everyone a good smack.
it is a tricky book, filled with nuance mikey s easy seduction of girls he feels nothing for starts to pall for him in the aftermath of his sister s rape, leaving him wide open to fall for ellie, from whom he intended to manipulate into giving him access to her brother tommy, for his deserved ass beating he does sort of start to understand that his own behavior towards women has been distasteful, but he continues to focus on violence as a way of solving his problems, instead of really being there for his sister he does the things that need to be done to hold his family together while his mother drowns in alcohol and absentee parenthood and his sister refuses to leave the house, but it is surface only mechanical he forgets about the root of the problem, wrapped up in some antiquated code of vengeance, and neglects to support his sister emotionally, so focused on hatred as he is.
ellie is another crappy thing altogether she is the wide eyed, overpetted lamb of her surface perfect wealthy family, idolizing her golden boy older brother and knowing he could do no wrong she is so credulous, it hurts and she is supposed to be this great scholar, but her big idea is to GOOGLE rape come on, sister, show me those supposed smarts already.
tommy and ellie s father is one of the worst human beings i have ever read about, as a character not because he is the manifestation of pure evil, it is insidious than that but he reminds me of my ex s father, and it is so appalling to read him yes, he is protecting his young and that is very admirable, but phoar the lengths to which he goes and his casual dismissal of this poor girl is really very horrifying made me want to pull out my hair a little it is also a fantastic book in its treatment of the rape because it is all he said, she said, and it gets difficult because, again, these are orbital characters, not the main participants and it isn t a thrown up against the wall attack, it is much much murkier and so sad and desperate and emotional this is a very necessary book, unfortunately and it does its job so well it has its weak bits, obviously, but the message is such an important one, outside of any bittersweet young love story between two fragile and confused romeo and juliet teens this shit is not okay and i am awfully glad this book is out there for all the young girls who maybe need a book like this best i can do.
oh, a p.
s for greg you would like this book because it is all about your beloved british underclass they eat so many crisps Most seem to love this book Isn t it annoying when you re the odd one out Let s get on to my thoughts, shall we When Ellie s brother, Tom, is accused of assaulting a girl, his family is pretty supportive and stand by him The thing is, they re so busy supporting him that they don t even freaking ask him if he actually did it, I mean, talk about baffling Meanwhile, Mikey sister, Karyn, has locked herself in her room ever since they found out what happened to her Both family s lives are turned completely upside down.
So when Ellie and Mikey happen to meet by chance, although originally, both have ulterior motives, both eventually find themselves falling for each other.
Ellie family is well off in contrast to Mikey who lives on the rough end of town Whilst Ellie comes from a tight knit family, Mikey and his sister only have their mum But even then, it s Mikey who s always been in charge With his mum venturing out in the late hours of the night and staggering back drunk, the pressure quickly falls on his shoulders And although I commend him for being responsible and taking care of his sister and mother, there s no doubt that he s just a complete jerk First off, he simply see s women as meat and has no respect towards any female whatsoever It Makes him hard to like or care for really Not to mention he does some really stupid things, and although he improves a lot towards the end, it was a little too late by then.
Ellie, on the other hand, is being treated as a suspect Apparently she was there when it happened, but she claims to have been asleep Throughout the book you will find yourself grow weary towards her You really don t know how much you can trust this girl One piece of advice Don t fall for her naive little charade She s sharp than she lets on I didn t like her either Conniving people piss me off.
The problem for me was that I couldn t bring myself to care or like even one character And how could I Every one of them were either conniving or unlikeable To top it all off, the slang accent the characters have going on really grated on me I ve heard it in the past, sure, but when you have to hear it for 300 pages, it gets a bit too much.
Also, I didn t believe that Ellie and Mikey were in love at all Sure they like each other, but love Now that s pulling it a stretch.
I did like that the book constantly kept you on your toes You re always questioning whose lying and telling the truth, and I m glad that you don t find out until the very end It helped really build up some great tension It ends as well as it could have With lingering hope and an air of possibilities.
It was an ok read, but I m not sure I can say that I liked it I had high hopes from loving BEFORE I DIE I m sure many will enjoy it than I did, but I don t think this one is for me.
Well finally, a much anticipated book that actually delivered After being so hyped up about Matched and then being let down with it s mediocrity, I tried not to get too excited about this book and prepared myself for another monumental disappointment.
I m always rather dubious when it comes to romance novels if you find a good one then you can be reeled in and swallowed up, it can stay with you for a very long time but so often this is not the case The amount of times I ve dared to enter into a romance story with high hopes and found nothing but cheesy, star struck I can t live without you s are countless They are often plagued with cliched characters and storylines and I found myself awaiting something similar from You Against Me.
And I loved it No, seriously, I really did The chemistry sparked off the pages without being over emotionally cheesy There was no getting lost in their eyes, no oh gosh, did our hands just accidently touch I liked and genuinely cared about both characters Plus, it was so much than a love story, the dark backdrop of sexual abuse is told through different eyes, tackling the slut issue that is a very real hindrance to prosecutions in rape cases The fact that anyone can even ask the question If a girl is wearing revealing clothing, is she asking for it just shows how important this novel is.
Was it perfect No I had an issue with the ending, or lack of if you want to be precise Perhaps the author was leaving it open for a possible sequel but nothing has been mentioned so far There are very few cases where ambiguous endings work The Handmaid s Tale is one and this book required something at the end But I liked it so much that I would happily say yes to that sequel.
5 starsWhen I was at the beach as a kid, I used to regularly do this thing where I would swim out as far as I could, just to see how much distance I could cover I d swim until my arms got tired, then stop to catch my breath before turning around I never stopped doing it, but I d be lying if I said that every single time, I didn t experience a second of sheer panic when realized I was just suspended there, well and truly out of my depth.
I feel a little like that trying to write this review Also, ocean swimming is mentioned in this book so I m not being entirely off topic I m sitting here nervously hunched over my keyboard, because I can feel what I want to say, I m just not entirely sure I ll be able to articulate it And You Against Me is a book that takes the reader into deep water, so to speak I just want to be sure of my footing I ve read other books that deal with sexual assault, where the story centres around the emotional and mental journey of a character who has been assaulted view spoiler Most recently, Raw Blue hide spoiler Thank you very much Law school because if it wasn t for you I wouldn t have had trouble sleeping and I wouldn t have read this book as fast as I did, it definitely deserves to be read in one breath.
This book was an all nighter, and after I finished it 2 30 AM I couldn t sleep for at least another hour thinking about it One of my first thoughts last night when I finished this book was Romeo and Juliet meets Crime and Punishment.
This is a YA drama, and it s the best YA books I ve read so far It s real and angsty and funny and sweet and heartbreaking and heart heeling, and it made me cry like a baby.
15 year old Karyn McKenzie likes 18 year old Tom Parker One night they run into each other in a pub and Tom brings Karyn home with him They drink alcohol and smoke pot In the morning Karyn goes home, and 24 hours later she goes to the police and accuses Tom of rape.
But this story is not really about Karyn and Tom This story is about Karyn s older brother, 18 year old Mikey McKenzie, and Tom s younger sister, 16 year old Ellie Parker, and the Hell they go trough while trying to deal with Karyn s accusation and Tom s claim that the rape didn t happen One of them is lying, and in this review I ll try not to hint which one, and I urge other reviewers to do the same, or put spoiler warnings, because for 2 3 of the book we really do not know who s lying and who s telling the truth.
Mikey is trying very hard to keep his family together, his mom is an alcoholic and there s no dad to rely on He looks out for his 2 younger sisters and his messed up mother He brings food to the house, tries to take his baby sister Holly to school on time, and is trying to help Karyn deal with everything that s happened He is extremely troubled by the fact that Karyn won t even go out of the flat, and that s she missing so much school that she probably won t graduate He believes that Karyn s accusation is true He s angry at Tom and wants justice and revenge Ellie was at the house that night when Tom brought Karyn and his friends back to party When the police came for Tom it was like someone tore a piece of her heart She loves her brother very much and believes him when he says that the rape didn t happen She ll do anything to save him from being locked up.
When Mikey and Ellie meet, their worlds collide They both love their siblings and are trying to protect them Ellie believes her brother s being truthful and Mikey believes Karyn.
and somehow, in the midst of it all, they fall in love.
I ve read some of the other readers reviews and was puzzled by them It still amazes me that so many people think that the world is black and white, and that it is really easy to tell the difference from right and wrong Well sometimes there s no right and wrong, there s just wrong and wrong, and it is up to you to choose the lesser evil Something that Ellie said explains it perfectly She took her hands away from her face It isn t going to be over, don t you get it Someone s family s going to be ruined yours or mine, that s the choice We can t run away This is real life, MikeyFrom what I ve read it seems that people don t understand Mikey s and Ellie s actions, don t understand why they did what they did in order to save help their siblings.
but I do understand because blood is thicker than water, and love for your family makes you do desperate things, even when you know that what you re doing is wrong What would you do How far would you go to save your family view spoiler Would you lie to save your brother, or your father, or your son from jail Would you commit perjury in order to keep your family together Aren t those the type of questions that you can t really give an answer to because the father accused of that crime is the same father who loves you and who took care of you and that brother is the same big brother who saved your life when a mad dog attacked you and scarred your young face and that son is the same son you carried in your womb for 9 months and gave birth to, and every time you look at him you see a sweet baby boy with beautiful golden curls trying to take hist first steps.
Would you lie even though you re doubts are driving you crazy and your conscience is screaming at you to tell the truth What if he didn t do it and your truthful statement could land him in jail And worst of all, what if he really did do those terrible things And what if it was your mom, or sister, daughter that was raped and the person that did it is getting away with it What if you re not really sure about what happened because she won t talk about it What would you do then hide spoiler
You Against Me was one of my most anticipated books of 2011 So much so that I was 100% sure I would give it 5 stars Jenny Downham s debut Before I Die left me a sobbing mess I am in a minority here thought, most of my co readers did not join the cryfest I expected the same from her second novel You Against Me was good, just not as good as it could have been.
Let me just say, the plot itself is fantastic The two main characters in this love story Mikey and Ellie have a very complicated relationship Mikey s 15 year old sister is a rape victim Her alleged abuser is Ellie s older brother Mikey is a protective brother and is determined to punish the rapist Ellie loves her own brother and wants to believe in his innocent The two teens first come together to get information out of each other, to help their families, but soon their loyalties and beliefs start shifting.
You Against Me portrays the issue of rape with care and sensitivity, in all its complexity Downham shows that the families of both the victim and her assailant are affected by the crime as much as the people directly involved in it She writes about the denial and blind belief of the rapist s family and the exhaustion and even some blaming in the family of the victim She shows how easy it is to discredit a rape victim by labeling her a slut a short skirt, some drinking and any kind of dating history is all it takes How hard it is to prove that she didn t ask for it in a drunken stupor And that a victim s ordeal doesn t end with a filing of a police report.
As much as I appreciated all this in the novel, I wish it were intense, tighter It needed not to be so quiet, so subdued, it needed outrage, drama It needed to push boundaries It needed to shear off 50 or so pages in the middle It needed to make me care about the romance and characters.
If Someone Hurts Your Sister And You Re Any Kind Of Man, You Seek Revenge, RightIf Your Brother S Accused Of A Terrible Crime But Says He Didn T Do It, You Defend Him, Don T You When Mikey S Sister Claims A Boy Assaulted Her, His World Begins To Fall ApartWhen Ellie S Brother Is Charged With The Offence, Her World Begins To UnravelWhen Mikey And Ellie Meet, Two Worlds CollideThis Is A Brave And Unflinching Novel From The Bestselling Author Of Before I Die It S A Book About Loyalty And The Choices That Come With It But Above All It S A Book About Love