Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: You by Charles Benoit

by Brittany Geragotelis

The book cover shows shattered glass, along with the reviews:
"Sharp." "Authentic, Ambitious, and Gripping." "Gut-Wrenching." "Touching." "Shattering." "Powerful." "Outstanding, Original, Haunting." "Poignant." "Amazing." "Stunning." "Devastating." "Unforgettable."

photo credit: Harper Collins
The book is called You by Charles Benoit, and based on the covers (front and back), it's nearly impossible to tell what you're going to get when you open it up. I first heard about You in the review section of a teen magazine (I think it was Teen Vogue, although I'm not entirely sure). And even then, the review was pretty vague. All I was told was that it was good, different than anything else out there and a must-read.

So, I used my special powers of persuasion to secure a review copy of the book so I could find out for myself what the novel in question was all about. And here's what I found...

This story could be yours. Well, sort of.

You is about a boy, Kyle, who has never really fit in at his school. Sure, he has friends...well, they're more like acquaintances. And he's got the girl...even though it's just as her friend. But he's also a Hoodie (this school's gothish dead-head), is bullied by jocks, has major anger issues and a strained relationship with his parents. When new student, Zack, shows up at school, life as Kyle knows it is changed forever. With an attitude bigger than Kanye's, Kyle's new buddy sweeps him up into a world of privilege, blackmail, crime and passion—and you know what that means. Someone will end up getting hurt.

The book itself was a quick read. Not at all hard to fly through and entertaining enough to keep me reading, though most of the book was quite mellow in action. I enjoyed the perspective the author wrote from. He writes the whole book as if YOU were Kyle, which helps to make you feel more connected to the character (as if you have a hand in the things he does and are experiencing the fear, anger and pain along with him).

With this said, I found the climax of the book a little underwhelming and slightly obvious. There was no shock when all was said and done and I didn't feel like the ending wrapped up the story in a satisfying way. However, I enjoyed the writing and the general story (maybe because like I said, the underlying story of feeling like we don't fit in and that life can often be cruel, is one that most of us can identify with), so I wasn't itching for it to be over. When it was though, I sort of wished I hadn't read the last few pages.

All in all, the book is worth reading. If for nothing else but the trip down high school's memory lane.