Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Expected Publication: September 13th 2011 by David Fickling Books
Source: ARC provided by Random House for review.
Summary: "If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If 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 apart. When Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.This 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."
Thoughts: It's difficult to convey into words the emotional journey You Against Me will take you on. This novel is a dark and painful look at what two people will do for their family and love. It's not an easy read, but it's undeniably a good one.
The story is told through both Mikey and Ellie's point of views. Ellie's brother is accused of rape, though he swears up and down it's not true. Her brother has always been there for her and protected her, so isn't it Ellie's job to believe and protect her brother? He's a good guy. He would never do anything like that, right?
All Mikey knows is that his sister will not leave their flat for fear of running into Tom Parker, the boy who raped and ruined her. And isn't it the big brother's duty to punish any guy who would dare hurt his sister? What Mikey wasn't expecting was to run into Tom's sister Ellie. Sweet, innocent Ellie. But how can you have a relationship with someone when both your families are at war with each other?
What I loved about this book is not only the incredible story telling, but also the real, raw, painful emotions behind it. From the beginning, you don't know who's telling the truth. You want to believe both victims, but clearly someone is lying. And you want so badly for both Mikey and Ellie to work things out, but how can it? This book very much reminds me of a modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but with palpable current issues that, sadly, society faces every day. The romance and chemistry between the two characters is undeniable, so you'll be rooting for them from the beginning.
And the ending? While the outcome was still let a bit open, it still answers every question you have. Talk about touching and moving! I absolutely loved the ending. It left me completely satisfied, happy and hopeful.
Overall, if you're looking for a fantastic contemporary novel, that deals with real issues and truly captures the human heart, I highly recommend checking out You Against Me. This story may have romance in it, but more importantly, it's a story about the love you have for your family and the things you would do for them and the difference between what's right and what's wrong.