Author: Claire LaZebnik
Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
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.
So, the most important part first: This is one of the best young adult novels I have ever read! I was so hooked, I couldn't put it down for more than five minutes until I wanted to find out more. There's one other book by Claire that I've read called Epic Fail and I remember not liking it too much, but this one... It's a true masterpiece.
After reading Things I Should Have Known I found out that Claire LaZebnik has got a child diagnosed with autism, which is probably why she captured things in this book so perfectly. No one would have ever hinted at the things Chloe's autistic sister Ivy thinks or goes through. I was stunned, too. But it's such a good way to make people think about what's going on inside of people's mind that are diagnosed with autism. Normally, people don't even care to think about that, but this book makes you aware of it.
While Chloe pretends to have the perfect life - perfect home, perfect boyfriend, perfect repuation - she's got a lot of weight on her shoulders. She's the only one trying to understand her sister Ivy. Her stepfather definitely doesn't, trying to control everything Ivy says or does. Or even eats. Gosh, I found those scenes really horrible. Let the girl eat whatever she wants, you! And why does Chloe and Ivy's mother never say anything about his behaviour anyway? Why is she okay with everything he says? I didn't understand, which made me feel conntected to both girls in a way. And then of course I couldn't stand Chloe's boyfriend from the beginning, simply because I hoped there would be someone better for her out there. His name is James and while he seems friendly enough in the beginning, some things he says make his true soul come out. And it's not a nice view, let me tell you.
So, we need something swoon-worthy... And there comes David. That weird guy in Chloe's class. Well, at least the way she describes his looks in the beginning doesn't make him any appealing to the reader. But it's not about that... It's what comes later that makes you fall in love with him. And his brother Ethan is just such a cutie, I wanted to hug him all the time. Especially when Claire describes the way he squeezes Ivy's shoulders or something like that. He's too cute for his own good. And so naturally, I cried later in the book. I won't tell you why, but Ethan doesn't deserve that. Find out yourself what it is I am talking about - read this book!
I enjoyed the setting - the frozen yoghurt place, the bowling area. Sometimes, these settings happen in other books too, but the characters fit so well into these places. And well, when Ivy and Ethan are a part of it, it sure is interesting to read about their behaviour. I shipped these two so hard.
By the time I got to the end of Things I Should Have Known, I felt like there weren't enough pages left for the things that still needed to happen for the story to finish. And I was right. Things were a bit rushed at this point, which is the only negative thing I can say. And it's not even that harsh, so just forget about it.
Even days after reading this book, I am still speechless. It was exactly what I needed, what I wanted without even realizing it. Everything about this novel was great and I don't say this often, but I kind of wish I could unread it, only to discover the beauty of it all over again.