Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
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 more 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.