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Stuff for the Teen Age
You by Charles Benoit: A Review
Kyle Chase isn't a bad kid. He isn't really a good kid, either.
Kyle goes to school, hangs out with his friends, and tries not to make waves. All that changes when he meets Zach, the articulate and outgoing "new kid" with a fondness for wearing suit jackets.
When Zach rescues him from a severe jock beating in the boys' locker room, Kyle begins to slowly accept him as something he's largely unfamiliar with: a friend. As this new kid becomes increasingly erratic, Kyle begins to fear that something bad will happen. When it finally does, will it already be too late? This ominous novel, taking place in a contemporary high school setting, manages to give a profound voice to the atypical teenager. Kyle knows he's messed everything up, but he can't find a compelling reason to make things better. He won't ask out the girl he likes, he refuses make his mom happy, and he won't even try to turn his grades around in school. It's a tale some teens will relate to in one way or another. This engaging story serves as a cautionary tale that for a life of inaction there can ultimately be fatal consequences.
This novel got to me in a lot of ways, largely because of how realistic I found Kyle Chase to be as a character. When his mother talks, he stops listening. He likes a girl but can't tell her because he doesn't want to change the relationship that they already have. The one thing he seems to get excited about is a potential job at the mall which ends up falling apart through no fault of his own. Kyle is a kid who just doesn't try. There's not a lot of reasons given to readers within this novel that proves he even should. Kyle's down-to-earth voice serves as the unreliable narrator of You. We only get to hear the story through his perspective. I think everyone knew a kid like him in high school... maybe Kyle even reminds you a little bit like you.