Friday, November 23, 2012

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

 You Against Me

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

5 stars

What would you do if your sister accused somebody of rape? What would you do if your brother was the being accused? Mikey McKenzie’s younger sister, Karyn, accuses Tom Parker of raping her. Mikey vows to protect Karyn and starts a plan to make Tom feel the pain his sister feels. When his friend Jacko says he wants in they decide to go through with it. Mikey ends up Tom Parker’s front porch in hopes of acting out on the plan, but he meets Ellie, Tom’s little sister. Ellie tells Mikey of a party for Tom’s bail and he and Jacko attend hoping to get information. What Mikey doesn’t expect is that his plan will turn into something completely different when he meets Ellie. Ellie is tired of constant revising and worrying if her brother really did what he was accused of. Mikey becomes someone she can truly be herself around and she loves that, but what will happen when she find out who Mikey really is? Even bigger what will Ellie do if Tom really did do what he was accused of? I wasn’t expecting this to be told in alternating POVs, but I think it was done beautifully. Once again I’m in love with a book by Downham. After reading Before I Die and being blown away I’ve hoped that Downham would release another book. I saw that she had and this book has been on TBR list for a whole year. I wasn’t expecting to be on such an emotional journey. I didn’t cry like I did with Before I Die, but I had so many emotions. I think that’s what makes Downham such a great writer. She elicits emotion in her writing and stories. I’ll admit the synopsis on the jacket hadn’t drawn in me and I was wary of it, but that wariness went out the window with just a couple of chapters.

The main female character is Ellie. I really liked Ellie. She was relatable and strong, but she questions things and worries like a person. I always felt like Ellie was real and not just another character. She had a story and it needed to be told. I did hate how easily she could be swayed by her father. It angered me because she it’s obvious that she loves her father, but her father isn’t always looking out for her. Ellie did eventually break away but I understood her sorrow and it’ll never be the same in her household.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 9.5

The main male character is Mikey. Mikey is also very real. I loved how he was very human and wanted to protect his family. He was more of a father to his sisters and it shows how he loves his family. I don’t like how he thinks so little of himself and there was a point towards the end of the novel where this becomes a big part of his thoughts. But he is only human and humans doubt their selves all the time. I loved how he was just as caring towards Ellie as he was his sisters. I also enjoyed his dream of being a chief and I hope it’s a dream that he reaches.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 9

The Villain- This is the part of my review that I don’t want to talk about it… it’s just a big part of the novel, but this sums up my feelings.

Villain Scale: 9

There were quite a few supporting characters in this novel. Jacko, Karyn, Holly, Mikey’s mother, Tom, Ellie’s parents, and Dex are the ones that are more prominent. I have mixed feelings about Jacko. I liked him at first, but I started to feel like he did more harm to Mikey than good sometimes. I still like him though even though he can be a real jerk, but he’s real and he’ll always be there for Mikey even when Mikey’s doesn’t want him to be. I like Karyn since she shows how a teenage girl deals with rape, but I can’t say I like her as a person. I don’t think she deserved what happened to her and I wish she wouldn’t have gone to the party in the first place or that her friend wouldn’t have left her there alone. Compared to her little sister Holly she is isn’t as radiant in life, which I understand because of what, but even towards the end when she starts going outside again I feel like she’ll never be truly happy again. Holly is probably my favorite of the minor characters. I feel like she was the one thing to brighten up Mikey’s life before he met Ellie. Mikey and Ellie’s parents are both very dysfunctional and need to get their lives together before they can do healing. Mikey’s mom seems to be doing that though. Tom should fall in a whole. I hate what he did to Karyn and her family and his family. I don’t like him and he’s a villain but not THE villain. Ellie’s dad should fall in a whole with Tom. I get that he wants to protect his son from going to jail, but he has a daughter and he needs to think about her too. Dex was Mikey’s mentor and always there for him and was like a father to him.

Character Scale: 9.5

All of these characters are real. They have substance and a place in the story. I did have a problem getting used to the heavy British slang though. I haven’t read a book set in London or its surrounding areas in a long time. It became easier to understand their slang after a while, but it took time. I also don’t like how it seems like Downham doesn’t use periods after addressing a superior figure. I remember that she didn’t do that in her previous book, but every time I would see Mr I wanted to scream and write periods in the place of where it should be. I couldn’t do that since it’s a library book and I don’t like writing in books. I like how both Ellie and Mikey wanted to get information out of each other at one point and it backfired. It was probably one of my favorite scenes in the novel. Downham didn’t disappoint and I hope she writes more books because she is definitely one of my favorite writers as of this book.

Cover Thoughts: I actually like the cover. Call me crazy but I think it’s beautiful. It fits this book for some reason.

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