You Against Me is very much a character driven book – and Downham’s characters, every single one, are exceptionally well written. This isn’t a romance, but it is about love. Yes – Mikey and Ellie are drawn to one another and we see their relationship evolve throughout the story, but that isn’t what You Against Me is primarily about. You Against Me is about an alleged sexual assault. One person’s word against another. And the devastating effects on not only the victim and their family, but also on the accused family – a point of view we rarely consider, or hear much about. In situations such as this, no one tends to care very much, if at all, of the impact of an allegation on the accuser’s family and how they are left to cope with the aftermath. Downham shows us how both families are completely torn apart.
You Against Me cleverly keeps the reader guessing as to who exactly is telling the truth for a good portion of the book – though the clues are there for those who see them.
This won’t be the right kind of novel for everyone, but don’t let the subject matter turn you away from picking up this book – despite its dark moments it is never melodramatic or emotionally manipulative. You Against Me manages to be both an absorbing, poignant read while conveying some important messages. One that deserves reading.