Things I should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Publication Date: 28th 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.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book, in no way did this affect my review.
I requested this book because, please don’t hate me, I was drawn to the cover! Then, on reading the blurb, I was really drawn to the idea of the book. Also, I have heard only good things about the author’s other work so this looked promising. It did not disappoint – Things I Should Have Known is a compelling read, touching a variety of important themes.
This book is about Claire trying to find her sister, Ivy, who is on the autism spectrum, a boyfriend because she wants her sister to go out and socialize more. A boy named Ethan, who goes to Ivy’s special school, seems to be the perfect match so Chloe sets up several dates for him and her sister.
Ivy refuses to go alone, so Chloe tags along. When they reach, they find that Ethan too did not want to be alone, as he brought his brother, David with him. Chloe and David are classmates but not exactly the best of friends. In fact, David is one of the social outcasts who popular girls like Chloe, never hang out with.
Chloe’s characterization was really interesting. I’ve never thought of how it must be like to have an autistic sibling but it seemed pretty rough to have to correct her best friend and boyfriend when they casually threw out things like “your sister is messed up.” They were both a bit insensitive about Chloe’s sister so that was a bit rude. Initially, Chloe is someone who just wants to fit in and be able to go out without feeling guilty about not taking her sister with her so she looks for someone for her sister out of mostly selfish reasons.
But on finding David, who understands how she feels having an autistic sibling, she becomes more accepting of Ivy and learns to look at the person she is behind the autism. David was not my favourite character. He was so mean to everyone at their school for no reason. I understand that he was acting out because of his struggles in his personal life but I feel like he overreacted quite a bit, on several occasions.
Ivy was such a fun character to read! She was so honest all the time and I love how she was so unafraid to be herself, despite her disability. I also really liked Ethan because he was just the cutest and I really enjoyed their interactions.
The writing of the story is so compelling, and I loved reading from Chloe’s point of view. She’s a great narrator and it was interesting to see her conflicting emotions through the story.
The plot was quite predictable at times but some parts took me by surprise. The concept was quite cute and I liked how the whole thing panned out.
I didn’t expect Ivy to be gay, but it was refreshing to see LGBTQ+ representation of people with disabilities. I also felt like Sarah, Chloe’s best friend, and her ex-boyfriend to have some sort of affair but that wasn’t the case.
This is a really special read that I am sure everyone will enjoy so do check it out if you get the chance! It’s especially perfect if you want to start reading more diversely.
Guest review contributed by Confessions of a Bibliophile. This blogger is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and has been blogging since the 5th grade. In her bio she has recently quit quitting.