You Know Me Well & The Fragility of Friendship
Read #3 of 2022
My first new read of 2022. And yes, of course, it’s another YA book. What can I say? I like what I like.
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m still drawn to the genre because I’m still holding onto something that could have been, that was never truly there.
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You Know Me Well, a joint novel written by the ever lovely Nina LaCour and David Levithan is about friendship, and I think that was fitting for me considering I’m thinking of quitting my job due to lack of friends (long story).
And more importantly, it's about how an age of a friendship doesn't matter, it's about quality.
I still talk to people from high school and college, hell I even talk to some people from middle school.
But I wouldn’t call them true or genuine friendships.
But kids I met on vacation when I was 13? The girl I met on Wattpad in 2014 who I’ve yet to meet in person? True and genuine friendships.
In the novel, Mark and Kate are the most true and genuine friends each other has for that week. The best friends each one has had since childhood? Practical strangers holding on by a string. There’s Mark and his romantic love for his best friend, and how Ryan loves him back, but only platonically. There’s Kate and her love for her best friend’s cousin, and how Lehna and Kate don’t really fit together anymore, but Kate and Violet do.
You Know Me Well takes place over the course of the last week of school – for Kate, her very last week of high school. The perfect time for everything to fall apart while simultaneously falling into place. You aren’t the same person you are at graduation that you were at the beginning of freshman year. And that terrified her.
When I graduated high school, I wasn't the same as I was as a freshman. Hell, I’m not the same as I was six months ago.
But those freshman year friendships are so, so crucial to who you will become.
I wish I knew that.
Just like I wish the girl I met on the very first day of high school in second period was with me when we graduated high school and went off to college.
I graduated high school nearly three years ago. Isn’t it too early to be this nostalgic?
Maybe that’s what I’m still holding onto – the safety net of a friend group, of a best friend. The security of knowing there’s always someone there to listen, to go on adventures with, to live life with.
The last chapter - a Kate chapter - is filled with the beauty of youth and friendship and knowing the world you know is ending soon but something new and beautiful is coming in its place. Strangers become friends, friends who have become strangers become friends again, the girl you like is in your arms the entire night, and everything is okay. If only for the night, everything is okay.
I try to incorporate that feeling into all of my fiction work, if only briefly.
You Know Me Well is a good book. It holds a lot of feelings about growing up and finishing high school, that at 21, I still resonated with. I know I hold onto the past, and I know that thinking everyone could be your new best friend, and I know that holding onto friendships that might’ve fizzled out, is all just going to set me up for sadness, but then I read books like this one and I think that I’m going to be okay.