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Literature / You Know Me Well

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You Know Me Well is a 2016 young adult novel co-written by Nina LaCour and David Levithan. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Mark, a boy in love with his closeted best friend Ryan, and Kate, an artist nervous about meeting the girl she has loved from afar, the book follows the two gay teenagers as they deal with their respective relationships as well as the unexpected friendship between them.

You Know Me Well provides examples of:

  • Bookends: Near the end, Kate takes Mark back to Happy Happy, the gay bar where they met a week ago, for a celebratory drink.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Characters who are not gay, lesbian or otherwise LGBTQ+ can be counted on one hand.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Averted by Kate and Lehna. When they came out together, Kate's father asked if they were a couple. They found the idea ludicrous, as they had always thought of each other as sisters.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Kate brings up the stereotype that lesbians get married after the first date and how it only highlights her own commitment issues.
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock:
    • Inverted. Mark, the jock, yearns for his sensitive, artistic best friend.
    • Played straight by Diego, who had a crush on Mark until Mark started to act like a jerk in order to try to put him off.
  • Instant Mystery, Just Delete Scene: The story transitions abruptly from Mark and Kate going to the party to the morning two days later. The party is alluded to throughout the book, but what actually happened there isn’t shown until the penultimate chapter.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mark comes to terms in the end with the fact that Ryan will never be able to reciprocate his romantic feelings, and silently supports Ryan and Taylor's relationship.
  • Last Het Romance: Kate claims that dating Quinn in eighth grade made both of them realize they were gay.
  • Lonely Together: What originally brought Mark and Kate together—one running away from their crush and one unable to confess their feelings to theirs.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The chapters evenly alternate between Mark's and Kate's viewpoints.
  • Tarot Troubles: Kate and Mark get a joint reading from a tarot reader. The past-present-future spread features the reversed World (lack of closure), the Eight of Swords (being trapped in one's pain), and the Tower (drastic change). Both the physical descriptions of the cards and their interpretations are faithful to the real deal. The reader even says, "But after the tower burns to the ground, and you've picked yourselves up off the rocks, and the fire ends and the night passes, it's going to be morning again," possibly a reference to the progression from the Tower to the Star, the Moon, and the Sun.
  • Title Drop: A downplayed example: "I know you well" and "I know him well" both appear (both said by Mark regarding Ryan).
  • Those Two Guys: June and Uma. They finish each other's sentences, mirror each other's movements, always appear together and do little more than round out Kate and Lehna's social circle. At least, until June secretly meets with Mark—on her own—to arrange for Kate and Violet to meet in the Exploratorium.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The novel opens in Happy Happy, a gay club in the Castro. Being the kickoff of Pride Week, the place is wild, crowded, and as extravagant as they come.