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You Don't Know Me

Review

You Don't Know Me

Every day, 14-year-old John wonders if he will be alive by the next sunrise.  

On the surface, John is just like most teens: he goes to high school every day, where he has several good friends and pines over the most popular girl. However, no one knows that every evening John is abused by his soon-to-be-stepfather.  

This is a terribly sad novel that shows how easily an abused kid can slip through the cracks. Abused and hurt children like John are usually too scared to tell anyone. John is convinced no one knows or cares about him. He's sure his teachers' own lives are so unhappy that they want to make others miserable too. He thinks nothing of leaving his best friend when he's in big trouble, knowing that his friend would do the same to him. And, because we know his secret, he is convinced that we, the readers, are the worst people of all. No one has rescued him yet. Everyone, even his own mother, has let John continue to live in fear. Why should he have faith in anyone?

John finally does get help --- and he lucks out. Help comes without him ever having to speak up. In reality, victims of abuse almost always need to take the terrifying step of telling someone before they get help.

If you like a book that really gets into a character's head or if you have an interest in psychology, this book is for you. Mixed in with his jaded thoughts, John has the same worries and feelings as any of us, making him a completely understandable and likable character. Without being overly dramatic, YOU DON'T KNOW ME packs a lot of action between its covers.

Reviewed by Kate Torpie on March 28, 2001

You Don't Know Me
by David Klass

  • Publication Date: March 28, 2001
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • ISBN-10: 0374387060
  • ISBN-13: 9780374387068