Title: Things I Should Have Known (2017)
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Genres: Young adult, Contemporary, Health and Mental Health
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Reader
Release Date: 28th March 2017
Reviewed by: Lois
“Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.
Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.
Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.”
Chloe is at the prime time in her teenage life. She has the perfect boyfriend, is popular in school, her grades are perfect and she is just about to apply for college. After a conversation with her autistic older sister Ivy, Chloe turns as much of her attention as she can on finding Ivy a relationship of her own.
Things I Should Have Known is a realistic and heart-warming young adult contemporary book. I have never read a book before in which a character has a family member who has been diagnosed with autism. Once I saw that this book covered the topic of autism I wanted to give it a read. It is obvious that Claire LaZebink has had previous experience and written about autism in non-fiction before, as it commented on in the acknowledgements section of the book, and feels very authentic. This book tackles, deals with and shows respect to both the topic of autism and those with autism.
I loved the characters in this book. Chloe is the typical teenager dealing with her life. All her thoughts were honest. You can tell she is a flawed human dealing with all her own struggles as well as her sisters. I related with Chloe when she got irritated at her sister, as I am the same with my sister. It was also nice to read that Chloe would also drop anything to help Ivy. Claire LaZebnik does an incredible job with writing authentic teenagers in her stories. Some books I have read recently the teenage characters feel fake but all the characters in this book felt authentic. All the side characters added their own little elements to the story. David, the teenage with no social life because he is his brother’s caretaker. I enjoyed what he added to the story. Chloe’s popular boyfriend made me want to scream at points. He made the typical unaware remarks about Chloe’s sister Ivy and her disability, like that she was “messed up.” But this again made the story feel real as this is what goes on in real life.
It was lovely to finally read a book that was funny, heart-warming and endearing and still feel incredibly real. A lot of young adult books at the minute that talk about realistic issues and challenges try to sugar-coat it and make the overall story unnecessarily depressing. This book is the complete opposite and feels incredibly authentic and real.
The only issue I had with this book is a really specific one. But I wasn’t a fan of any of the parent characters in this book. They just felt underdeveloped and like they had been thrown in because they needed to be there.
Overall, this book is important, heart-warming, and endearing. I have already recommended it to family members and friends and certainly will continue to do so. I recommend this book to any young adult contemporary book readers out there. Especially if you want to read a story that feels incredibly authentic.
Thank you to Netgalley, Claire LaZebnik and HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to check out Book Depository using my link here: Loisreadsbooks
Until next time,