Monday, May 06, 2013
REVIEW: You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett
I've really loved the two previous books by Sophia Bennett that I've read but I think You Don't Know Me is my favourite. It really made me think ... mostly about how there're always more sides to a story. This book centres around this decision made under pressure by a group of girls and it spirals into this horrid display of bullying. Supported by the media and done through social networking sites, text messages as well as name-calling the bullying in this book is quite sad and believable. I could definitely see this happening quite easily and it made me wonder how many times I've possibly contributed to something like this in the same ways.
I think one of the strengths of the book is that You Don't Know Me is told from the perspective of Sasha, the girl who dropped her fat friend on television to further her own chances of winning a talent show. I love that we see Sasha's side of this story and can see how everything isn't as it seems but nobody is really interested in hearing how much Rose's friendship means to Sasha or how the things that happened didn't happen for the reasons that everyone thinks. It's easy to villify someone like Sasha without knowing all the facts.
It wasn't until another character points it out to Sasha how strong she is that I really realised it myself. I love that Sasha made this awful mistake and even though her attempts aren't successful, she does try to apologise to Rose a million times. And in light of the public's perception of her as well as random people on the Internet and her classmates, Sasha still carries on trying to make the best out of a bad situation. All of the details about Sasha's budding song-writing and her attempts at teaching herself the guitar was fascinating to me to read about. I love how she takes all of her feelings about her broken friendship with Rose, about #dropthefatgirl and she puts it all into her music.
There's so much to love about this book. I thought the sweet, almost-there relationship between Sasha and Dan was fantastic. I kept mentally screaming 'kiss her already!' And I loved the seminal leotards and the idea of four happy teenage girls dancing about in feather boas in their bedrooms making music videos before everything hits the fan. I thought there was some excellent information about privacy control on social media sites and I loved Elliot's decisions to manipulate things in favour of Sasha and her bandmates. This book is just right balance of serious and heartbreaking and light and fun. I loved that alongside death threats and horribleness there's also catchy pop-tunes about sunglasses and silly outfits. I really recommend that you pick up this book!