Things I Should Have Known – Clarie LaZebnik – HMH Books for Young Readers – Published 28 March 2017
From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy. Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.
A surprising and delightful story of friendship when you least expect it, learning to better understand your family, and reevaluating expectations and learning to see past them.
Things I Should Have Known is an incredibly easy book to read. One minute I had just started it, the next I was finishing. I didn’t want to put it down. I smiled, laughed, and even had a few ‘awwww’ moments.
Chloe has a good life. Sure, her stepdad is a little controlling, but her boyfriend is perfect, school is easy and she’s popular. When she notices that her older sister, who has autism, doesn’t get out much, she sets out to find her a boyfriend. And top guy on the list is Ethan, who attends the same school as Ivy. But Chloe doesn’t realise that Ethan’s older brother is David, who may not exactly be Chloe’s nemesis but she doesn’t relish spending so much time with him as they observe and guide their siblings through a series of awkward dates. But Chloe discovers she has a lot more in common with David than she realises and spending time with him isn’t so bad, even if their matchmaking isn’t exactly going to plan…
This book is so much more than a romance (though I really liked that part). It’s family and understanding, and learning to look beyond what one expects, especially from people. Chloe think she has things pretty well worked out. She knows where she fits in the world. But as she spends more time with her sister, Ethan, and David, Chloe learns to look deeper at the world, see past people’s exteriors, and discover that everyone has a lot more to offer than first expected.
I enjoyed Chloe’s character. She’s fun to hang out with and her use of sarcasm is superb. I especially love how Ivy has learnt to identify Chloe’s sarcasm. I loved how caring and protective Chloe is of Ivy, but also realistically frustrated at times. In fact, everything about this book’s portrayal of autism seemed accurate, at least to my experiences. It is honest and upfront and realistic.
But as much as this book is about a fantastic sister relationship and Chloe learning more about herself and her family, it is also a romance. I love how Chloe and David bicker and tease each other. As Chloe learns to really see her sister, she also learns to look past David’s aggressive front and to like him for who he is – flaws and all. At the start of this book Chloe has a boyfriend, but there is no love triangle or any unnecessary drama thanks to Chloe’s honesty and tendency to be upfront with people. Loved it.
This book really was a wonderful surprise; an excellent contemporary novel that addresses some very important topics in a very accessible way.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Autism, relationships, family, friendship, high school, social acceptance, siblings, LGBT, dating.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Infrequent coarse language, s***, f*** (x2). Sexual references.
Published: 28 March 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.