Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Publisher: David Fickling Books
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.From the moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. There are two narrators in this story: Ellie, who seems to have a perfect life as a rich, pampered girl who only has to worry about school, and Mikey, a poor boy who had to quit studying to support his two younger sisters and alcoholic mother. Their lifes completely change when Ellie's older brother is accussed of raping Mikey's younger sister.
There is a lot of angst as well as guilt in this book. Both main characters try to do the right thing for their families, but the main problem is when the right thing to do may come in conflict to the loyalty your supposed to have for your family. I love that particular struggle the characters go through and I think that's one of the main reasons why both Ellie and Mikey get together; they understand what each other is going through.
While the romance between Ellie and Mikey is important for the story, there are other things that are as important, like how the accusation Mikey's sister made against Ellie's brother affected their families. One of the things I liked about the book is that usually this type of stories are told from the victim's point of view, but this time what we see is what happens to the families. At times there was hope, hope that what happened can make a family member who was lost or disinterested remember what's important, but mostly there was pain, sorrow and heartbreak.
This was a very emotional read with amazingly written and realistic characters. The only problem I had was that the ending was quite abrupt and I was expecting more. Other that that, this was a fantastic read.
"We could hide out at your grandparents' place."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"I've got money. We can buy food, loads of it, and go and live there for a while."
"Think about it, Ellie - just until the worst is over."
"Are you insane?" She took her hands away from her face. "It isn't going to be over, don't you get it? Someone's family is going to be ruined - yours or mine, that's the choice. We can't run away. This is real life Mikey!"