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Things I Know – Helena Close

Thank you so much to the publishers, Little Island Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Saoirse (18) can’t wait to leave school – but just before the Leaving Cert her ex-boyfriend dies by suicide. Everyone blames Saoirse – even Saoirse herself, who cheated on him with his best friend. She is shunned by her schoolmates and suffers unbearable levels of anxiety.

Things I Know is a raw, honest and heart-breaking book that will stick with me for such a long time. I picked it up one night after work and could not put it down until I finished it, despite the fact I was up early the next morning. I cannot recommend this one enough.

Trigger warnings: Suicide, sexual assault, depression, panic attacks and anxiety.

Saoirse cannot wait to leave school, but just before her leaving exams her ex-boyfriend dies by suicide. Everyone is blaming Saoirse, even Saoirse herself. She is pushed away by her friends and suffers unbearable levels of anxiety and feels like she will never find her sense of self again.

Saoirse goes through so much throughout this book and as readers you feel so many of the emotions that she is feeling with her. She is still grieving the death of her mother and now her ex-boyfriend as well. Saoirse is messy, likeable, lonely and dealing with her mental health. We see Saoirses struggles to find herself and how her mental health deteriorates throughout the book.

This book perfectly depicts small towns. We see how everyone knows everyone and how this affects Saoirse’s life. Each and every one of the characters in this book is well-developed and unique. I adored Saoirse’s grandma and her little brother especially. Both brought some small pieces of joy and hilarity to this book and helped to lift the reader up during parts of the book that are difficult to read.

There is so much stigma worldwide surrounding mental health and this books shows that quite often nothing is done until it is just too late. Things I Know breaks this stigma and tells of the mental health struggles of Saoirse and other characters in an honest and open way.

Helena Close’s writing is beautiful and captivated me right from the very first page. I will certainly be on the lookout for other books from her and picking them up as well.

Overall, I would highly recommend Things I Know. It is a heart-breaking, compelling and honest story that those who feel lost will be able to relate to. Please check the trigger warnings before reading this book. It is spectacular.

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