‘Love’… it’s weird. You wouldn’t think that you could find that word associated with ‘rape’, would you? Neither did Mikey Mackenzie. He went looking for trouble, but instead… he found love.
‘You against Me’ by Jenny Downham is set in Britain. It is a very well written book with lots of issues that relate to teens and young adults. This book would appeal to the age group of 14-17 years; readers who like a bit of romance and mystery.
Mikey Mackenzie is a teenage boy who works at a pub, has a dream of becoming a chef and plays around with girls when he feels like it. When he meets Ellie, it all changes. She is in charge and Mikey likes it. Mikey falls head over heals for Ellie, a simple girl going to school who has never done any wrong … until now. Karyn sits up in her room, covered in doonas 24/7, why? Because Tom has been accused of sexually assaulting her. To make matters worse, Karyn and Mikey are brother and sister, just as Ellie and Tom are. It makes it harder for Mikey and Ellie to find time to be together, if they don’t get caught out first. Ellie’s mum is on both sides but her Dad is determined to keep Tom out of jail even if that means disowning his own daughter. What if their families find out? What will they do? Do they love each other enough to find a way? All hell breaks loose when things get too much for Mikey and Ellie.
I really liked ‘You against me’ as the writing style is very captivating. It draws you in from the start and makes a love story in your head. It keeps you wondering what will happen from start to finish. ‘You against me’ is a book full of mystery, surprises, loyalty and decisions but most of all it is a book about love.
Tayla C, Year 9
Rape. How would you feel if your sister came and told you she had been raped? What would you do to try and protect her? The thing you would want to do is find the person who molested her, right?
How would you feel if your brother was accused for that rape? If he had to be on watch 24/7, not being able to live like a free man?
This is the story told in ‘You Against Me’ by Jenny Downham. This book is set in Britain and was very well written with a lot of relevance to the teenage world. This novel would appeal to 13-18 year olds mostly because of the maturity in the book. This is a story full of love, mystery and confusion. Kayrn McKenzie, Mikey McKenzie, Tom Parker and Ellie Parker are all a part of a love rollercoaster. Kayrn locks herself in her room and covers herself in blankets 24/7 because of the rape that Tom Parker was accused for. Ellie is an innocent teenage schoolgirl and Mikey is a normal teenage boy who works in a pub but when Mikey meets Ellie he instantly falls for her, creating chaos. Ellie and Tom are siblings and so are Mikey and Kayrn, making it harder for Ellie and Mickey’s love to become more real. Being in love with the sister of the person who molested your sister wouldn’t be easy. Will their families find out about this love? What will happen if they do? What would happen if Tom or even Karyn figure out the chemistry between Mikey and Ellie? Will they be able to keep their love a forbidden secret? Will it all go downhill when someone finds out? Or will it all be too much for them to handle?
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘You Against Me’ as it fully captures the writing style of heart and mind. The story’s plot captures your full attention, keeping it throughout the whole book and keeps your mind open to any new surprises. It is the type of story that you could read for hours. It makes you want the book to never end. It will intrigue you and make you forget about the real world. It makes you wonder whether it will finish as well as it started? If this sounds like something you would want to read, ‘You Against Me’ is the book for you.
Ruby F, Year 9
What would you do if your sister was sexually assaulted? Would you get revenge? What if you were the victim? Would you leave your house? What if your brother was accused of rape? Would you, along with the rest of your family, stand by him?
Mikey McKenzie is an 18-year-old who is desperately trying to keep his family together. With his father being out of the picture and his mother a drunk, it is up to him to bring in the money, step up and be the man of the house. When his younger sister, Karyn, claims that Tom Parker raped her, he wants to seek revenge.
Ellie Parker is a 15-year-old girl, and when her older brother is accused of the crime, she tries her best to make sure that he doesn’t go to jail and that her family stays intact. Mickey and Ellie should despise each other, after all they are the reason both their families are falling apart. However, this turns out to be the story of how Mikey and Ellie eventually fall in love.
In the novel ‘You Against Me’, Jenny Downham highlights some of the crimes prevalent in modern society. Downham shows that the crime not only affects the victim and the person that is accused, but it also affects the families and friends involved.
In this book, I enjoyed the two different stories that were told and their different points of view on this situation. For Mikey, it was trying to keep his family together, and having to accept that he could not do anything but wait for the court to make their decision. For Ellie, she is trying to wrap her head around the idea that her brother could be a rapist, and she must decide whether to go with what she believes is the truth, or what her family is pushing her to do, so that her family will stay together.
I believe that this novel is very well written, and if you are a female between the ages of 13 – 17 you will enjoy this book. The novel relates to issues in today’s society, whether the issues are falling in love with somebody you’re denied the chance to be with or being sexually assaulted. If you have read and enjoyed ‘Just Listen’ by Sarah Dessen, then you will enjoy this novel.
Sarah, Year 9
You Against Me is a story that would be interesting for teens. It is about a girl named Karyn who decided to go to a party, where she becomes a victim of rape. Her brother Mikey has to be responsible and get Tom back for raping his sister Karyn. But on the way to help his sister Karyn, Mikey starts to fall in love with Tom’s sister Ellie, who is the only one who knows what really happened to Karyn…
Jenny Downham wrote a great novel, but this is one story that is both a mystery and romantic; a crime novel with love added into it. All the families in this story are affected because they can’t believe everything that happened with the rape. Imagine that you are trying to find the person who raped your sister, but then in the middle of this crime scene you find love yourself.
You would think because “You Against Me” is a crime novel that you would never think of love or romance, wouldn’t you? Mikey and Ellie are very much alike because they both have their own difficulties and yet they both still find love in the weirdest way, through a crime. When Mikey and Ellie are together it’s as though Jenny Downham has brought real love to every person. This is one of the things that made Jenny’s writing great: it sounds like a real life relationship that will never end. In Mikey and Ellie’s lives there are many dramas but, no matter what happens between them, nothing will stop them being together. Jenny Downham made the couple seem alive and vibrant so that the story comes to life and that is what I think makes a great novel. This book is a good book. This is why I would have to rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Melly Year 9.