You Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennett
Genre: Contemporary, Fame
Published by: Chicken House
Format: Library Book
My guilty pleasure reads usually have celebrities or the rise to fame in them. I picked up You Don’t Know Me thinking it was going to be a cookie cutter version of this trope; the classic ‘girl turns into something she’s not because of record label pressure’ kind of thing. While it did fulfil the stereotype to a certain degree, I was really surprised by how it defied my expectations. It covered body shaming, cyberbullying and being misunderstood way more than fame, and I’m so pleased it did.
P L O T
You Don’t Know Me follows Sasha, and her friends Rose, Jodie and Nell, who record themselves singing an original song that gets put on the internet without their permission, and before they know it, they’ve qualified to be entered into ‘Killer Act’, a national singing contest.
My original thought was the Sasha was going to outshine the rest of the group, and forced to leave them behind to be a solo artist, Jem and the Holograms movie style. BUT, instead, Rose is chosen as the odd one out, and the rest have to continue as a trio.
Killer Act’s decision to kick Rose out of the group reflects badly on the rest of the girls, as the talent show’s reasoning is all to do with Rose’s weight. This causes a huge online backlash, with Sasha suffering the brunt of cyberbullying.
The girls have to figure out if they can still be friends, while dealing with all the attention, wanted or not, they’re getting.
F R I E N D S H I P
I love books that feature a strong female friendship. I thought that Jodie and Nell were background characters, really, but the relationship between Rose and Sasha was an interesting one. They both saw each other in the best possible light, thinking the world of what the other could do. Sasha didn’t even think about Rose’s weight. To Sasha, she was the most beautiful and talented girl ever. What started off as something so supported eventually spiralled into something toxic, based on miscommunication and misconstrued information.
The support of friends can be really important to someone’s success, and You Know Me Well showed this perfectly. Without friends by our side, we’re afraid to put our dreams in action. (And yes, that’s from Victorious, the best show ever.) Neither Rose or Sasha were the people they wanted to be without one another, and I liked that, despite all the rough patches, they believed in each other’s abilities until the end.
T O P I C S
Cyberbullying: This was serious. Death threat serious. It really made me think of the impact negative comments can have and how detrimental they are to someone’s self esteem. This book also showed how influential social media is, and how things can so easily spiral out of control if enough people get onboard. I do love seeing social media in books, but I have a tendency to forget how cruel the internet can be sometimes. This was a good wake up call.
Body Shaming: I absolutely loved the inclusion of a plus sized character. I don’t think weight is ever something mentioned a lot in books, accept maybe to describe mean characters like the Dursleys in Harry Potter. Stop the fat shaming. Stop the skinny shaming. To have a character that was comfortable with her weight and inspiring others was great to read about, and hopefully healthy attitudes about our bodies will continue to spread throughout YA.
V E R D I C T
This book went beyond my expectations, and left me proud that a book dealing with something as trivial as fifteen minutes of fame could have such strong roots in other major teenage issues. I’ll give You Know Me Well a 3 star rating. Would recommend, especially if you want something within this genre that’s different from the norm!