Book Review: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me by Jenny Downham was released in hardback on 2nd December by David Fickling books. The book is 416 pages long. The paperback is due for release on 7th July 2011. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

Ellie and Mikey come from completely different backgrounds. One family is quite well off and the other live in a flat on a council estate but one event will bring them together. When Mikey’s sister accuses Ellie’s brother of sexual assault, everyone’s lives are thrown into chaos. Mikey wants revenge for ruining his sister’s life and ruining everything their family had and plans to do this by messing around with Ellie. What Mikey isn’t expecting though is for Ellie to be so nice and for him to actually have a lot in common with her. How can two people with families that hate each other ever be together?

What I thought
This is the first of Jenny Downham’s books that I have read but knowing that a very good blogger friend loves her work, I jumped at the chance to review her newest novel.

What I loved about Mikey was the fact that he would do anything to protect his family and try to make them feel safe again. It clear from the very beginning that he was prepared to go to any length to make sure his sister, Karen felt safe again. As Karen’s court case gets closer, Mikey realises just how bad things have gotten with his family. His mother can’t cope and has turned to drinking in the day, Karen wont leave the house and then there is his little sister to look after. Another good thing about Mikey was that he was far from perfect, even though he really does want to the best out of life. He was flawed but those flaws were what made him so great. It was nice to see him go through such a journey and come out the other side a better man after everything that has happened.

I wasn’t quite sure what to think about Ellie at first. She is quite the innocent character, not having done anything crazy in her life. She is a very devoted sister and refuses to believe that her brother could have ever done the things that Karen is accusing him off. As the story carried on and Ellie got to know and spend more time with Mikey, I found myself really warming to her. Even though she was naive at times, the realisation that she was more than just a sister and a daughter was lovely to see. Mikey brings out both the best and worst in Ellie, making her realise that she is her own person and can really do anything she puts her mind to.

Even though Ellie and Mikey’s romance is a large part of the story, it never overpowered the larger, more important part of the plot. I was a little afraid that it would have been there is a nice, equal mix of both aspects. The importance of what every character is going through is stressed extremely well and Downham makes sure that the reader knows exactly how important the accusation is. Although it is a very touchy subject, I think You against Me was written wonderfully, with a sensitivity to characters on both sides. I was never totally sure until it was uncovered which side of the story between Karen and Tom was the truth. I liked how I was always made to keep guessing throughout and little things would make me change my ideas on this. One minute Tom was acting all nice and I really thought he was innocent and then within a couple of pages, Karen would do something to make me think that he wasn’t innocent after all.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. It is a compelling read with some serious messages and a heartfelt love story. I cant wait to read Jenny Downham’s other books now.


  1. I haven't heard of this one before!

    Thanks for the review

  2. l really enjoyed this one, l agree Mikey is such a sweet character who really want to protect his family =)

  3. Fantastic review just not one I could read - it would be too close :(


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