The Teen Reader

Your source for reviews and ratings on every type of YA fiction.

You Don’t Know Me

Posted by Danielle on February 16, 2009

Author: David Klass

Genre: realistic modern fiction

Reading Level: Easy to Moderate

Rating: PG-13 for violence and some innuendo

Summary: “You think you know John? Well, let’s see…What bathroom fixture did his father have in mind at his birth? Does algebra have a use, besides torture? Who is Glory Hallelujah? Who is Violet Hayes? What do they want? Who or what are the Lashasa Palulu? Why do fools fall in love? How can anyone who is fighting a secret battle for his life know anyone? And how can they know him?”

Danielle’s Review:

I just finished reading You Don’t Know Me by David Klass. I basically bought this book because I had seen it so many times, and I had to know what it was about. It’s a little young for me and I figured it would be a one- or two-day weekend read, something simple and easy and rather brain-melting. Just to take a break from real literature.

But I was wrong. I wasn’t expecting it to be so good! It goes way beyond the confines of a simple boy-meets-girl “high school” book. In fact, it isn’t really a boy-meets-girl book at all. John is a boy who’s being abused at home, who has no talents, and who has just about the worst luck of anyone on the planet. Now, you’d think that would make for an incredibly depressing book, but though the content is very serious, the way it’s told is hilarious. I was laughing out loud at this book, and then five minutes later I was cringing. A good portion of this book takes place entirely within John’s thoughts, so be prepared to jump around quite a bit. Klass plays on emotions and creates one of the most likeable and realistic characters I’ve heard from in a long while. John has one of the most unique voices in modern fiction, and though you’ll probably finish this book in a couple of hours, you’ll be blown away by Klass’s expert use of personification and the Unreliable-Narrator technique.

In short, this book is something every writer should try to pull a few tricks from. If you’re looking for a full range of emotions and a short but powerful read, I recommend it.

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