You Don't Know Me

David Klass

Square Fish

You think you know John? Well, let’s see . . .

What bathroom fixture did his father have in mind at his birth? What amphibian plagues John in band? Does algebra have a use, besides torture? Who or what is Lashasa Palulu? Who is Glory Hallelujah? Who is Violent Hayes? What do they want from John? If friends are people who like you, does John have any? Why do fools fall in love? If school is a place for learning, where does John go every day? How can anyone who’s fighting a secret battle for his life know anyone, really? And how can they know him?


Praise for You Don't Know Me

“Klass blazes past his previous literary efforts stylistically, introducing elements of magical realism to gradually reveal a quirky, talented, and likable guy. . . . The world may be ‘muddled and painful,’ but it is, ‘in the end, a love song,’—a rewarding and important message for all readers.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

“[A] well-conceived novel. . . . The hero’s underlying sense of isolation and thread of hope will strike a chord with nearly every adolescent.”—Publishers Weekly

“John’s inner voice is wonderfully cynical yet sweet and sad. . . . This book is for anyone—teenagers and adults alike—who has ever been faced with the absurdity of a normal life.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

“[A] captivating first-person narrative with an original voice . . . [T]his is an engrossing story, in the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, to which readers will immediately connect.”—Kirkus Reviews

“John is a genuinely sympathetic, interestingly complex character, his highly mannered voice belongs to someone much older than 14, and it’s wildly inconsistent, veering in tone from seriously realistic to the farcical, from wryly sophisticated and ironically self-deprecating to sophomoric. Weigh that against some brilliant, dramatically charged scenes and John's endlessly intriguing character.”—Booklist

“I loved it because it describes the exact way I feel.”—A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader

“Extremely realistic.”—A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader

Reviews from Goodreads



  • David Klass

  • David Klass is the author of many young adult novels, including Dark Angel and You Don’t Know Me. He is also a Hollywood screenwriter, having written more than twenty-five action screenplays, including Kiss the Girls, starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, Walking Tall, starring The Rock, and Desperate Measures, starring Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia. Klass grew up in a family that loved literature and theater—his parents were both college professors and writers—but he was a reluctant reader, preferring sports to books. But he started loving the adventure stories his parents would bring home from the library—particularly Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexandre Dumas. After his sister twice won a story contest in Seventeen magazine, Klass decided he would win it too, and when he was a senior in high school, he did, publishing his first story, “Ringtoss,” in the magazine. He studied at Yale University, where he won the Veech Award for Best Imaginative Writing. He taught English in Japan, and wrote his first novel, The Atami Dragons, about that experience. He now lives in New York with his wife and two small children.
  • David Klass Copyright Gisell Benatar


Available Formats and Book Details

You Don't Know Me

David Klass

American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, Texas Lone Star Reading List, IRA-CBC Children's Choices, IRA Young Adult Choices, NYPL Books for the Teen Age
  • Trade Paperback

  • e-Book




Square Fish