Friday, 14 June 2013

Review ~ You Don't Know Me - Sophia Bennett

You Don't Know MePaperback won in Goodreads, First Reads giveaway

Release Date: 6th May 2013

Publisher: Chicken House


Sasha, Jodie, Nell and Rose never expected to be famous. They didn’t want to be. In fact, they wanted to keep their band a secret because it’s what they do when they’re being stupid together – dressing up and singing cheesy songs.

But someone has stolen a video they made. It’s online, and it’s been entered into a talent competition. And what’s more … it’s got 24 votes. In only a few hours it’s got 24 votes.

The girls are about to be faced with a big decision that could make them seriously famous.

Just not necessarily the way they hoped …

My Opinion

I was extremely excited when I won this book as not only was it the first ever Goodreads giveaway for me to have won but also the cover really caught my eye in a soft, subtle way. When I received it in the post I was even more thrilled and couldn't wait to start reading You Don't Know Me. The blue edged pages also helped intrigue me.

You Don't Know Me is a realistic and relatable book that highlights the concept of making tough decisions under pressure, the impact of the media, talent shows and the issue of cyber bullying in the ever expanding world of social networking. The writing really makes you think about what you say, even if you don't know the person and I could relate to the situations well. As well as this the characters were believable and the relationships were created well, especially as they changed. You could really see the connection between the girls. I also liked how the book was written from Sasha's point of view. She was supposedly the 'villain' who cause her friend to be dropped (I won't reveal which one it is though) so I thought it was interesting how the author used her to tell the story of how everything impacted her and the backlash she received rather than the other girl.

I must admit that I did find this book very slow to begin with and in all honesty I didn't think I would get to the end. I'm not sure why it was but the start just didn't hook me or engage me enough to keep my interest for more than five - short - chapters at a time. Due to this fact, You Don't Know Me did take me a lot longer to get through than I first anticipated. However, the second half of the book did get better and it hooked more. It was about the last third that really kept me turning pages though and I think this was down to the fact that a romantic element was established more, while the girls seemed to gang up on the TV show. Personally I feel that this section was more lighthearted and I think that's why I enjoyed it more as it wasn't full of sad thoughts. Saying this though the way the romances ended really annoyed me. I was like "what was the point in putting it in there just to do that?!" and because it was my favourite bit I did feel let down by the lack of development.

One character I did really like though was Elliot. I know he wasn't in it much but his crush on Sasha was sweet and  found his geeky shyness cute. As well as this he was slightly comical and lightened up the book in the few moments he appears. With regards to the other characters I'm not sure anyone stood out. I could relate to their situations and empathise with their emotions however for me they did seem to just be standard characters and nothing had the wow factor that made me love or hate them. They were believable in their friendship but that was the only level I connected with them, I was never routing for either of them to win, get back together etc.

Another thing I liked about this book was the modern setting. The references to music, artists and bands were mainly modern and therefore not only added to the believablity but also helped me engage with the book as I knew who they were talking about and what songs they were listening to. I also liked the behind the scene access to the talent show. We all know what they are like and this book presented the reality rather than glossy the image producers try to portray. The only thing I didn't find convincing was the fact that the girls didn't know a lot about the technology. I mean Sasha didn't even know what privacy setting were on Interface (like Facebook) and for me it just didn't seem right considering their age. Most teens I know of know their way around technology better than adults and can pick up a new device and figure it out within minutes. Due to this it just didn't seem convincing to me.

Overall You Don't Know Me started slowly but it does build in pace and excitement that gets you turning pages again. It deals with issues sensitively and create a realistic plot that leaves you able to empathise with the characters along their journey. Fans of contemporary books may want to check this out.


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