Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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