Sunday, June 19, 2011

You against me

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you? 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 a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of "Before I Die". It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love.

Although I say this about almost every book I have just finished, You Against Me by Jenny Downham is one of the best books I have ever read. What I love about this book is, that unlike the majority of the books I read, it is not supernatural with magic ways to create a fairytale ending or a world changed unlike the one we actually live in. This book is about the real world, real people, real families and real situations people find themselves in everyday.
I read this book within a day, the fastest I've ever read a book and although I usually get through books within two or three days when I get through them faster it means I basically can not bare to put it down. I became very attached to Mickey in this book because he is the hidden hero that no one sees.
You Against Me is a heartbreaking story about two families who are suffering because of their kids. A young girl, Karyn, Mikey's younger sister claims that she was raped by Ellie's older brother Tom. Both families are torn apart by this. Ellie's family torn by the police, the lock and police tape on Tom's bedroom door, Tom being in jail until he's released for bail. But her family are wealthy, they are rich and her dad hires the best barristers to defend Tom. Mikey's family however is being torn apart because Karyn wont leave the flat anymore, she hides in blankets; duvets; big jumpers. His mum isn't handling it very well either, not that she was the best mother in the world to start with, but now all she did was drink and sleep. But his family is not wealthy, they are struggling to get by, living in a flat on a estate. Mikey never realised how much Karyn did around the house until he is left with no choice but to wash up, cook, take their nine year old sister Holly to school in the mornings. But Mikey has to work to and juggling his family and work becomes increasingly hard. Karyn's police support woman reports them to social workers and Mikey has to try harder to get Holly to school everyday and on time which puts a strain on his job.
They are two completely different people, from two worlds, who manage to fall in love despite the hate they should have for each other. This book shows how tough the real world can get, how real hero's like Mikey can be unseen and girls like Ellie can be forced to lie by their tough parents, like her horrid dad. How people we think we know are actually strangers, like how Ellie believes Tom's a great brother and turns out to be something completely different.
After reading this book it is hard to place trust in anyone; it seems everyone is a stranger and to be honest in life they are, but the book also makes you see that you have to trust in some people because there are hidden heroes out there who are unseen. But if you see them for them, you will be there world and if you don't trust anyone you will miss them, but if you trust everyone you are setting yourself up for heartbreak- and that is why I love books more that people, haha! It is hard to find the balance, but like Ellie has in the end of this book, if you do things will work out. 
This is an amazing book, I highly recommend it. Though it is not recommended for younger readers. If you want to go on and read this book don't read on and spoil it for yourself as I read this book yesterday and the stories still fresh in my mind and I wrote a brief over view of the story. The only one fault to this book is the ending, I wasn't satisfied with it, but I am not sure if there is going to be a next one or not, if there is the ending is fine but if there is not then it's a little weak. Either way the book is still so real, so true and outlines all the sharp angles there is in life. You should go out and buy it! It is truly a book which you may be able to relate to in some way, it will touch your heart.

Seriously only read on if you've read it before or are defiantly not going to buy it! Don't ruin the story, it's even more amazing in Jenny's words! Buy the book, the covers amazing too- why I bought it in the first place!

Mikey is set out to hurt the guy who did this to her sister, who has her balled up on the sofa unwilling to ever leave their flat. He storms around to their house, a young girl answers, Ellie, he wasn't expecting it. He discovers they are having a party to celebrate Tom's bail release. The thought of this angered Mikey, how could they be celebrating when his sister was at home, hiding under layers not doing anything but watch television all day. He decides to crash the party, Jacko his best friend who he also works with goes with him. They plan to find information about him so that they can win when they attack him in a quiet area. But Mikey ends up alone with Ellie, but Ellie is not an ordinary girl, she won't give up anything about her brother keeps changing the subject.
Jacko is sussed for asking too many questions about Tom, suspected for being a journalist but gets away before he is caught leaving Mikey alone. Mikey leaves, after giving Ellie his number, hoping to get some information out of her some way or another.
Ellie is just a sixteen year old girl, studying for her exams. Yet when she returns to school she is blamed for something she did not do, something her brother says he did not do. She gets into a fight with Karyn's friends, but of course her horrid father who cares only about appearances tells her how selfish this was, to fight in public like she was defending a guilty brother.
After the fight she had ran away from school, she needed to see someone and so she had texted Mikey. Mikey was intent on only getting information out of her, but she was so smart, so different to all the other girls and Mikey had been with a lot of girls. They kissed in the river.
After a couple of days of missing school, her father forces her back, but her brother helps her bunk. But soon his temper rises and he kicks her out the car, she is left stranded. She remembered something Mikey had said about where he worked and searched every pub along the harbor to find him, she just had to see him. When she finds him, his boss lets it slip his last name. This sent shocks through her she had to leave, but she had to sit down. By the time he got there she had decided, he using her for information, she could play at that game.
She set him up, got him drunk, stoned and took her top off, threatening her parents would be back soon, the gate had CCTV to prove he was there. But her plan went wrong, Tom turned up. Mikey got his chance, he laid into him. Tom fought back. He smashed the end of a wine bottle and stalked over to Mikey. Mikey had no weapon so cowered at the closed gate, he was trapped. Ellie had never seen her brother like that, her brother who saved her when the dog attacked her, the one who left the scar at her mouth. She drenched them with the hose pipe in desperate attempt to stop him. 
That was it, Mikey had used her, she felt cut up inside. But she didn't know Mikey couldn't use her the way he intended because he had fallen for her. He was hurting because he liked her, she didn't believe him, why should she? He was exactly what she said. But she had set her up, yet still he could not be mad at her.
Ellie tried to focus on studying for exams, Mikey tried not to think of her. Countless texts in his outbox he never sent to her.
I miss you. Meet me. Forgive me.
But as time passes Ellie remembers more, she remembers everything she had been trying to push out of her head. The boys lifting Karyn's skirt with the blind stick while she lay hammered on the bed, taking pictures with their phones.
Tom's guilty.
But everyone she tries to tell, pretends they don't here. Hen own mother does nothing about it, when she tells Tom's barrister he says that maybe she shouldn't be his witness- because everyone would find out he's guilty that's why! She runs, runs through the rain until she reaches Mikey. Texts him demanding he come down, else she'll go up.
He comes down frustrated, but she tells him she wont defend her brother in court. He doesn't think it will make much difference. But he blows off work and they go somewhere together, to her grandmothers cottage. When they get there they are soaked from the rain, the house has been cleared out, no heating or electricity. But Mikey builds a fire in the fireplace and finds potatoes to cook. Mikey and Ellie become intimate. And even though Mikey has been with many girls, he is nervous, Ellie was different she made him feel special. Ellie had never been with anyone before, she was just as nervous as him. They were caught up in love.
Until her mother called and she had to rush home, back to a life where she was just a child. Her dad shouted at her for hours, took her phone away, they were going to fire the barrister and hire the best one and she would be a witness and defend her brother, she was demanded too. She had to keep her family together right?
Ellie was stuck between saving her own family or Mikey's. However still it wasn't as simple as that, it was saving her family or saving herself. Be true or to lie to protect her brother from his mistake. She studies harder, but all she can think of is Mikey, that night on the carpet of her grandmothers living room.
Meanwhile Jacko had stitched him up to his family, they knew about Ellie and they hated him for it. Thought she was just another girl to him, they didn't know how special he was. Mikey got angry, let it slip about Ellie not defending her brother in court. Karyn insisted on telling her police woman. Mikey had to warn Ellie left her loads of texts, urgent voice mails asking her to ring back, but she never did. He could not warn her, it was late and he had work in the morning after dropping off Holly. Sue his boss would be mad at him for skipping work last night. Say how he wasn't as reliable as 'Jacko' just like his family had said. Did Jacko look after Holly, take her to school every morning, look after his drunken mother, his broken sister. No Jacko just showed up when everything was cheery and he was the hero.
Mikey can't stand it, at work he constantly calls Ellie, but her phone is off. He calls Karyn the police woman is there, he panics, gets his mother to call him. She informs him the police are involved are going to ask Ellie questions. She has to warn her.
He makes up with Jacko and takes his car, even though this would mean losing his job for good. He turns up outside her school, asks her to talk to him. She bunks off and they go to the river to talk, where no one can see them. He warns her, she breaks down but knows it wasn't his fault. When the police come for her at her house she tells them everything, her mother is shocked. Her brother is now having to move out, away from a witness he could influence to change her statement yet again, her dad is furious with her. A harsh, harsh man.  Her world is crashing down around her, but she realised she doesn't even know her family, her mum, her brother, her dad. They are all in it for themselves, so why shouldn't she defend herself? Everything is horrid.

Mikey turns up and suddenly he's all that matters.

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