Monday, October 25, 2010

You by Charles Benoit

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 8/24/2010

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About the Book: Fifteen-year-old Kyle Chase is coasting through high school. He's part of the "hoodies" crowd and he doesn't really fit in. He's awkward, he's on the fringe of his friend group, he's failing his classes, and he can't seem to tell the girl he likes how he feels.

Then new student Zack shows up and Kyle slowly and unwillingly befriends him. Zack is after Kyle's weak spot and is out to break Kyle and everyone else in his path. Nothing will be the same-and when did it really all start?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: There's a reason the ARC of You has blurb after blurb from authors, librarians and booksellers-Charles Benoit has written a stunning YA debut.

In the author's note in the beginning of the book, Mr. Benoit states that Kyle is not a bad teen nor is he good teen, but he's a typical teen and I couldn't agree more. Kyle is that teen boy that doesn't feel like he fits in anywhere, is somewhat awkward, and that most everyone have pegged as a "loser." Kyle is an incredibly believable main character. I can see Kyle in many of the teen boys that know-in fact, I think I need to pass You onto my brother because I think he would really relate to Kyle's story.

At the crux of the story is decision making-when did everything go wrong for Kyle? Was it the beginning of tenth grade? Was it when he started to crush on Ashley? Was it when Zach arrived? Or was it sometime before? We know Kyle has a lot of anger and that something happened in eighth grade to make him stop trying, though we're never told what.

The way the story is told-in second person-really engages the reader. The author puts the reader in Kyle's shoes and in a sense the reader becomes Kyle. This style of storytelling really works well and makes the book flow at a non-stop pace. I started reading it and I couldn't put it down for the next two hours. The narration also adds to the suspense and mystery. This is a contemporary novel that in some ways reads like a thriller as we're given hints about what happens later, what people will say, but we spend the majority of the book trying to get there and figure out what's going to happen.

Not only is this a read I would give to teens, but one I would pass on to adults as well, especially adults who work with teens. Kyle needs an adult to listen, to talk to him, to see him for who he is, but instead he's been branded a "hoodie" and a "loser" and so even the adults see him that way. I think You can serve as a good reminder to teens and adults that we shouldn't be so quick to judge the others we encounter.

You is a riveting read that begs to be discussed.

Spoilery Thought (highlight to read): If you've read this book, what are your thoughts on Zach-like him or hate him? And did anyone else wonder if maybe Zach wasn't real but instead a figment of Kyle's imagination or alter-ego ala Fight Club?

Book Pairings: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas, novels by Chris Crutcher and Ellen Hopkins

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC picked up at ALA

9 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you read and reviewed this one. It's been in my to-read pile for a while, and I was on the fence about making time to read it.

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  2. I just finished it last night. I loved it so so much. It reminded me of the movie Brick-which I also loved. I think this is the book for a reluctant reader-it is unputdownable!!! Zack is such an interesting character. I could talk about him for hours-it is not often we run into a character as unique as him. Evil for the fun of it, sounds like Moriarty. Thanks for your review!

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  3. I just read this book over the weekend. I was really surprised by how good it was. Although, I was left wanting more from it. I wanted to know why Kyle started making his bad decisions and hanging out with those people.

    For your spoiler, I don't think so, simply for the fact that Zack interacted with other people. In your example, he never did, it was just assumed that he did, know what I mean?

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  4. I picked this up a few weeks ago but haven't read it yet. Glad to hear a great review!

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  5. Library Gal-I hope you enjoy it!

    Javajump-Zack is a very interesting character and I think this one is perfect for reluctant readers-it's an easy read and really fast!

    Autumn-I wanted more in the end-and more of Kyle's backstory as well.

    And yes, I don't think my spoiler is true, just something that I thought of while reading.

    Christi-I'm glad you got it-I hope you like it!

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  6. Gah, now I'm torn. You are one of the few readers who's review I read that liked this book. I trust your judgement so now I feel like I might enjoy it as well.

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  7. I really liked this book too. Don't know if you've read The Chocolate War, but Zack reminded me a bit of the charming bully Archie from that book. I think he is a borderline sociopath--he is super charming, but enjoys watching his manipulations play out on a stage in front of him...hmmm. Very interesting indeed.

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  8. Sigh...you've forced me to think. What is second person again? According to Wikipedia, "The second-person narrative is a narrative mode in which the protagonist or another main character is referred to by employment of second-person personal pronouns and other kinds of addressing forms, for example the English second-person pronoun "you".
    What an unusual style for a YA book, or for any book for that matter.

    Thanks for making me think early on a Tuesday morning :-)

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  9. I, too, think Zack is not a figment of Kyle's imagination. However, he is a total sociopath, not a borderline one in my opinion. He’s out for his own enjoyment, and doesn’t care who gets hurt. Actually, hurting people is part of the enjoyment for him, along with the manipulations and finding people’s weak spots.
    Which brings me to a question I have about the ending. Why was Zack surprised?
    If he was able to manipulate people so easily, why didn’t he see the rage building in Kyle before that fateful night? He should have known about the bus incident that left that scar on Kyle’s hand, and about the fights that he had gotten into.
    Ok, ok, one more question, because the ending did confuse me. Was Kyle the only one that got hurt by the glass or did Zack get cut, too? Or is this why Zack is surprised, because he got cut too?

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