Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: April 2008
Classification: YA Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This was another book that I was dying to read and yet I’m left feeling disappointed once again. I had been impatiently waiting for this one to hit the United States because I thought it was going to be a great, hard hitting contemporary. I was even reading rave reviews on this book from some bloggers recently. So I gave the book a try but something was off for me and it ruined the book for me personally.
The way that the main male character Mikey is described is in such a way that makes him seem so much of an older teen, maybe even a guy in his 20s. Contrast this with the way that the main female character is described, which is like a very young teen who still follows all of mom and dad’s rules and seems like she goes to a school for junior high school kids. Then boom these two become love interests for one another, it didn’t freaking work in my mind that a older teen guy would be anywhere near this girl who was suppose to be about 16 but felt as if she was 12. It really was just grossing me out because although Ellie’s age was described as old enough to me she wasn’t.
Combine the age factors with the fact that the topic of rape has been done in so many teen stories and nothing about this seemed to work or feel very original for me. So sadly, this is a book that I put down half way through because I just couldn’t see the main characters dating when to me they felt like they were almost a decade in age apart even though that is not their ages in the book. I don’t know why I pictured Ellie so young but try as I might I just could not image her any other way which ruined the story for me. You might actually see Ellie the way she was meant to be, but for me she was a little girl and little girls do not have relationships with older teen guys like Mikey.