Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik | Impressive + Realistic

March 27, 2017 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews | 20 Comments

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik | Impressive + RealisticThings I Should Have Known
by Claire LaZebnik
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Illness, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 28th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
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4.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Mail

Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan's brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David might 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 would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Chloe is one of the popular girls at her school but it’s not because she tries. It’s because she doesn’t try that people admire her and like her. She’s even dating the most popular guy at school and everything seems okay. But at home, Chloe takes care of her older sister Ivy who is Autistic. Chloe is already used to taking care of Ivy and being there for her, so when Ivy starts asking questions about kissing and relationships, Chloe sets out to pair her up with Ethan, a boy from her school who’s also Autistic. What Chloe doesn’t know is that Ethan is David’s brother, the annoying and insufferable guy from school who she can’t stand. But by going on Ivy’s and Ethan’s dates, Chloe and David start to see a new side of each other that they hadn’t seen before.

I know I just made it seem (as well as the synopsis) that this is a book focused on romance and that Autism takes a backseat. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. I was quite surprised when I realized that yes, there’s a cute romance, but it’s not the focus at all. In this case, Autism takes the full front and passenger seat. I don’t know if the author wrote this story from experience but it felt so real. The characters came to life before my eyes, especially Ivy and Ethan. I mean, we see Chloe and David struggling with their siblings because they don’t understand normal cues. They get loud if something upsets them, ask more questions than normal because they aren’t able to get what’s up, they are brutally honest, they can be extremely quiet or talk non-stop. The list goes on and on, and because of it, these characters made me see Autism in a new light.

I’m her younger sister, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like I needed to protect and take care of her.

I loved how flawed Chloe was and how her reactions were very normal in the sense that she would get upset, mad irritated because her sister wouldn’t understand things. At the same time, she’s always there for Ivy and is always giving her advice and motivating her to try new things in life. With David, his reactions towards Ethan are actually calmer and more soothing. We see how it affects David and his family that Ethan has Autism. One thing I loved about David was how open he was about his feelings towards this situation, to the point of even crying, which broke my heart. Chloe and David are teens handling a tough situation because their parents aren’t really there to help and it’s sad to think that it happens nowadays and how ignorant a lot of us are to this Mental Health.

People can have nothing but good intentions and still sometimes makes you want to kill them.

This story is so important to read! Not only that, it also tackles another important topic and the way it was handled was great and it made me so happy! I can’t say because it’s a major spoiler, so you guys will just have to read it 😀 One thing I did find negative of the story was the fact that there are various topics thrown in the story and I wish some had been fleshed out more.

Things I Should Have Known is an impressive, wonderful story that tackles Autism in a realistic way, as well as family dynamics, especially sisterhood.






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20 responses to “Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik | Impressive + Realistic

  1. Hmm, I’m very interested in reading this book so I’m going to put it on my wish list. Thanks for reviewing it because now I’m even more interested in reading it. It went straight to the top of my to buy list.

  2. I want to read this. It makes me happy when an author incorporates Autism is a realistic and well done way. I’ve dealt with many people with autism and have Autistic family members, so I try to keep that in mind when I encounter people that are behaving a little out of the “norm”.

  3. I really enjoyed this story too, and was also pleasantly surprised with how well it focused on Autism. I’ve only read one or two other books where Autism features, though I enjoyed them as well. Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson and…How We Deal with Gravity by Ginger Scott.

  4. This is the first I’ve heard of this book but it sounds really good! These topics are always very hit or miss in books, so it’s great to hear the author did it well. I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  5. Great review, Gen! I have read from this author before, but didn’t realize she had a new release. I’ll add this to my TBR list. I definrely agree with Lenore about Puddle Jumping that was a great book. 😊

  6. I have never read a book with an autistic character, so I’m intrigued by this. Plus, I’ve loved Claire LaZebnik’s older titles, so I have to read it.
    I love that you were able to learn a thing or two from the book.
    Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. You know what, I am sorry to say I haven’t yet read a story with an autistic character (which I shall have to change) I have seen this one around, and yeah, it did strike me as too much focused on the romance, but I’,m glad to see it’s not at all. Wonderful review!

  8. I absolutely loved this book. It also showed and explained a lot of what I didn’t understand about autism before I read this. A truly lovely read! I also love reviewing non-fiction about this kind of stuff. Last week I reviewed a book about this syndrome called Williams, which is said to be the opposite of autism (too trusting instead of the other way round). It’s called The Boy Who Loved Too Much and was also super interesting.

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