You Don't Know Me by David Klass

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Dark and funny.

John ("My father named me after a toilet!") wrestles with the certainty that no one really knows him -- not in his miserable home, and certainly not at school. It's true that no one can guess his hidden thoughts, which are hilarious, razor-sharp observations about lust, love, tubas, algebra, everything. And then there's his home: his father ran off years ago, so he's being raised by his mother, who works long hours, and by her boyfriend, whom John calls "the man who is not and never will be my father." This man is his enemy, an abusive disciplinarian who seems to want to kill John and, in a horrible final confrontation, nearly succeeds.

Moving, wholly involving, original, and emotionally true, You Don't Know Me is a multilayered novel that presents a winning portrait of an understandably angst-ridden adolescent.


About David Klass

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David Klass is a screenwriter and the author of many young adult novels, including most recently Stuck on Earth, which Publishers Weekly called "a thoughtful, often wrenching book [that] offers plenty to think about." He lives in New York City.  Perri Klass is a pediatrician and contributor to the New York Times as well as an author of several books for adults. She is also professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University. Second Impact is her first book for teens. She lives in New York City.
Published April 1, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 284 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for You Don't Know Me

Kirkus Reviews

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Algebra does not have the power to penetrate my feverish isolation"), his okay music class ("To my surprise, the giant frog who is pretending to be my tuba suddenly comes very much to life"), a disastrous date with the much-sought-after Gloria ("Glory Hallelujah"), and the nightmare of being left...

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The New York Times

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Juxtaposing the mundane trials of school -- teachers and girls and fickle friendships -- with the severe abuse that John suffers makes ''You Don't Know Me,'' David Klass's seventh young adult novel, a strange book.

Sep 16 2001 | Read Full Review of You Don't Know Me

Publishers Weekly

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The 14-year-old narrator describes the physical and emotional abuse he experiences from his mother's boyfriend in this "well-conceived novel," said PW.

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Publishers Weekly

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While people do care about John—a rather stereotypically sensitive music teacher and a likable girl from his band class, whom John calls "Violent" Hayes "because she appears to be trying to strangle her saxophone before it kills her"—even they cannot convince John to reveal what's happening at home.

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I just happen to live there right now,” John, the narrator of David Klass' young adult novel YOU DON'T KNOW ME, tells readers from the opening chapter.

Jun 12 2011 | Read Full Review of You Don't Know Me

Teen Reads

The Book Report NetworkSign up for our newsletters!Every day, 14-year-old John wonders if he will be alive by the next sunrise.

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Common Sense Media

Fourteen-year-old John is an easy character to feel sorry for and root for as he deals with everyday problems, and larger ones, like the abuse.

May 30 2005 | Read Full Review of You Don't Know Me

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