Sep 17, 2011

ARC Review: Jenny Downham - You Against Me

Jenny Downham - You Against Me

• Pub. Date: September 2011
• Publisher: Random House Children's Books
• Format: Hardcover , 416pp
• Age Range: 12 and up (says - I say more like 14+)
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 received this book through a giveaway from a blogger. Here's my honest review:

I thought this book was slightly intense. I was on the edge of my seat for a while wondering how and when this would all crash to the ground. Mikey's plan is "rubbish" as they'd say, but he feels like he needs to help his sister. It backfires a bit as you'll see when you read this novel.

By the end, I was glad that I read it. I couldn't stand Ellie's family. I understand that you love your son and will do anything for him, but this situation is just too much. Denial only takes you so far. Ellie must become a strong woman to do what is right. If she can do it, she knows that her family will be ripped apart. How does she choose? Read this!

The love story in the background is bittersweet. As a reader, I wanted them to come together and overcome the whole issue of what Ellie's brother Tom is accused of doing to Mikey's sister Karyn. It's all a shame, but it seems so impossible to overlook. With poor Karyn refusing to leave her house and Tom trying to convince everyone he's not guilty, Ellie and Mikey still try to trust each other (even though it doesn't seem like they should) and figure out a way to make a relationship. Kind of.

I did want to know more at the end, as well. It doesn't go as far into their story as I wanted. I'd like to know how the whole picture comes together and ends for this duo of families.

What I liked:
  • The love story. It was a bit understated, which is almost refreshing. Mikey does seriously start to like Ellie, but neither of them get so crazy about it that it's overwhelming and unbelievable.
  • Ellie's Mum. It's spoilery so I won't say why. Read it and you'll know.
What I didn't like:
  • Mikey's Mum. This is the second British novel that I'd read recently where the mum of the family is a mostly absent drunk and the son has to take care of the family. Blech.
  • Ellie's family. Goodness. I mentioned it about, but seriously. Her dad acted horribly towards her when *semi-spoiler* the truth came out! He only wanted to save his son even if it meant sacrificing his daughter. And Tom. What a scumbag! *end spoiler*
  • British slang. It's my fault for not knowing British slang I suppose. I had to look up a few things and wanted to incorporate them into my vocab, but they sound silly without the accent.. haha. But sometimes it made the book hard to keep up with.
Bottom line: I would recommend this for fans of deep/dark YA novels. It talks of rape and drug use/drinking, so be careful if you're not okay with those topics.


3.5 / 5 book sharks


  1. This sounds too intense for my, right now, but it looks like something I'd probably pick up down the road. I think I'm fine with the topics but just the mood of it, like you said, seems just so intense!

  2. I'm not sure about this one... Maybe a library book???

  3. wow never even hear of it. thanks for the review!


Thanks so much for leaving a comment! It means a lot!! Happy Reading!!