You Against Me - Jenny Downham

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge. If your brother's accused of a crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him.
When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offense, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.
This is an unflinching novel from the bestselling author of Before I Die. It's about loyalty and the choices that come with it. Above all, it's a book about love. 

 

This well-crafted book shed a new perspective on sexual assault and the burdens that follow.

 

Mikey's sister, Karyn, is claiming she was raped by Ellie's brother, Tom. However, she was completely wasted that night and everyone knows she had been harboring a crush on him, making this an extremely sticky situation where Ellie is the only witness.

Ellie and Mikey are from different sides of town. Ellie's family is successful and wealthy, while Mikey is struggling to prove to child protective services that he and his alcoholic mother can take adequate care of his two sisters.

 

It took me a few days to get through this book as I kept putting it down for others, but despite this I did enjoy this book.


I absolutely adore and admire them both. They're loyal and passionate and both very smart, and put together, they have a really fun and flirty dynamic that follows. They both care so much about their incredibly different families, which really shines through.

 

Dealing with sexual assault in literature is something that can go terribly wrong, but Downham succeeded immensely. While she by no means skirted the topic, it was more an undercurrent, the foundation on which the book was built, than the star. Ellie and Mikey's interactions took that role. Maybe because of that this book isn't as deep as it potentially could be, but I admired how well Downham showed the effects and consequences of perceived sexual assault without making it at all patronizing.

 

This book ended on a beautiful note and though I wish I knew what happened after, there couldn't have been a better moment.

 

About trust, loyalty, and love, this book was very powerful.