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.
Reading You Against Me was like listening to a recording on high speed. All the characters' reactions seemed extreme and drastic and I couldn't understand where they were coming from at all. Downham seemed to be trying way too hard to make her characters seem relatable but they ended up seeming stiff and orchestrated instead.
Maybe my life's too sheltered, but I simply couldn't see this story happening in RL. It wasn't brutal enough to be believable and it wasn't normal enough to be realistic either. I could tell that Downham's intentions were to write a deep and touching story, but I was mostly bored throughout.
Nearly all of the characters' problems were blown way out of proportion and had one simple solution - communication. Everyone in this novel lived in his or her own little bubble, away from reality, and didn't really bother explaining their feelings, choosing to have a pity party and lashing out bizarrely instead.
Overall, this was a meaningless book and I doubt I'll be reading Downham's other works. Put simply, her writing style doesn't appeal to me and I have trouble relating to her characters.