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YOU AGAINST ME by Jenny Downham Kirkus Star


by Jenny Downham

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-75160-5
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

A tender, complex character study from the author of Before I Die (2007).

Mikey is a boy from the housing projects, working as a dishwasher in a pub to try and keep his fatherless family together. Ellie is a daughter from a privileged family whose biggest worry is passing her final exams. When Mikey’s sister Karyn claims she was raped by Ellie’s brother Tom at a party, Mikey cruelly plans to use Ellie to get close to Tom in order to exact revenge. Instead, the impossible happens: Mikey and Ellie fall in love. Now each feels that to swear allegiance to the other will tear their families apart. And when Ellie decides to change her statement about what she witnessed that fateful night, each family must come to terms with the inevitable consequences. In Dowham’s capable hands, what could be the sordid topic of a daytime talk show instead becomes a graceful catalyst that tempers and transforms Ellie and Mikey, who only want to do what’s right but aren’t sure how. The secondary characters are equally vivid, especially Mikey’s overwhelmed alcoholic Mum and Ellie’s tormenting and tormented brother Tom. Crisp, revealing dialogue, measured pacing and candid, unaffected prose round out this illuminating novel in which any reader can find someone to root for or relate to. 

Unforgettable. (Fiction. 14 & up)