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Review: You against Me by Jenny Downham

You against Me by Jenny Downham
Published by David Flickling
Challenge: BBC
Series: None
Source: Picked up at RHCB bloggers brunch

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.

Ever since I heard Jenny Downham was writing a new book I really wanted to read it. I loved before I die and had high hopes for this one. In a silly way if also put me off a bit - were my expectations going to be too high? Would I be disappointed if it wasn't as good as her first novel which was stunning? I'm glad to say that these worries were unfounded and I thought You against me was excellent.

The story revolved around two characters. Mikey a young lad in his late teens whose younger sister says she has been raped. He is the man of the house and spends his days trying to hold his single parent family together since his mother seems like she cannot cope with situation the family have found themselves in. The other character is Ellie another teenager whose brother has been accused on rape. She is the primary witness in his defence case and is feeling uncomfortable about her role in a future trial.

The first thing I'm going to say I like about this book(which is a totally biased and silly thing to like about a book) is that it is set in Norfolk yay! As a born and bred Norfolk girly I loved that about the book. (Silliness over back to the real review)

This story is so different from Jenny's other offering but just as good in how it builds up tension and brings to like engaging and interested characters that you can really relate to.

I won't tell you the ins and outs of the story and plot line because I don't know how I can give you that without spoiling the story but I will say this. For me the driving force of the story is the relationship between Ellie and Mikey. The story of the alleged rape is interested as an add on especially as it is not obvious who is the guilty party from the outset of the book but for me it was all about Mikey and Ellie. I loved how their relationship develops as the story progresses and I loved seeing how it affects, particularly in Ellie's case, how think, act and feel about the situation the two families are in.

The final section of the book is when it all kicks off. Again I can;t begin to explain or describe it in any detail or I would spoil it for you but I was totally and utterly gripped. The way it twists and turns was done brilliantly with loads of tension. The way it was written meant you couldn't quite second guess what was going to happen next which I really liked.

All in all an awesome book which I really enjoyed and would thoroughly recommend.

Thank you RHCB for the review copy


Anonymous said…
This book sounds rather interesting! You can tell just by reading your review that you really enjoyed this book! I haven't read Before I Die Yet, but it is on my list of books to read this year. I actually own a copy of the book, so I can get round to it whenever I feel like it!

Thanks for a lovely review! This one is going on my (ever-increasing) list of books to read!

Phanee :)
serendipity_viv said…
I keep hearing good things about Jenny Downham. Especially her book Before I Die. I think I might have to investigate that.
Elodie said…
I loved this book .. =) I so have to read Jenny Downham previous book, Before I Die !!
Great review !
KelliumSims said…
I loved it, too. Jenny Downham's writing never ceases to be awesome!
She is easily one of my favourite authors :)
this sounds awesome, well have to look into the author! I totally get what your on about with the set in Norfolk thing. I loved that Della Says OMG was based around here! :D x
Glad you enjoyed this book! =)
I can't wait till Jenny's next book =)
Unknown said…
I really enjoyed this too. Mikey's voice was so spot on. He sounded like a real boy to me.
What a wonderful book this is, I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)