Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 320
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Trigger Warning: Fat Shaming
Not gonna lie, I requested this book a hundred months ago -exaggerating but you know- and I kept pushing reading it until the last minute humanly possible to be able to write the review on time. Why? Because I was dreading the Autistic representation and how it will be handled, especially from a sibling’s point of view because my past experiences with this kind of scenario are bad. Anyway, even though it is good overall, I still had some problems with it, most of which have nothing to do with the representation.
My first and biggest problem with this book was the writing, definitely not the kind I enjoy. Even though I eventually got used to it as the story progressed I didn’t like it, it was too conversational and I thought it lacked that little something that can set it apart. It read kind of juvenile. I know this is a YA, I read my fair share of it -just look at all my reviews- but this has nothing to do with the narrator’s voice, it’s more of a writing style thing. I don’t know how to explain it better than that. I also picked up on a few ableist words and phrases like “nuts”, “a tiny edge of hysteria”, etc…
The story in itself is very heartwarming, honest and felt authentic. I can’t speak for actual human experiences but from what I studied, the Autism representation is true to *some* people on the spectrum. As with most mental illnesses, it isn’t something set in stone, different people experience it differently and I thought that was well expressed through Ivy and Ethan, who are similar in some ways but very different in others. Although my favorite thing about it is the unconditional sibling love. Both between Ivy and Chloe as well as Ethan and David.
Since the book is from Chloe’s POV, that relationship takes front stage and I loved it. Their love for each other is so raw and real, they both were there for each other no matter what. It was also realistic because they still got frustrated and mad at each other. For all the standing up Chloe did for Ivy, she went completely silence when her bestfriend and boyfriend said offensive things and that’s what annoyed me the most. She was rioting in her head but never said anything so that “She’s not that girl” to ruin the fun and all that. That and the fact that she tried to make Ivy something she’s not (which was called out eventually). That kind of dampened my liking of her for all the good things she is/does.
Ivy is such a sweet girl, she not only is a shy quiet girl but she’s also strong af, she stands up for people she cares about even when everything inside of her tells her not to. Ethan on the other hand is very talkative, especially about movies, he loves them and can go on about them forever. He’s also such a cute romantic boy and I was really sad when Ivy didn’t return his feelings (she’s gay so ya know… she can’t).
David is something, oh yes he is. A very frustrating something. He was arrogant and rude to everyone with no obvious reason whatsoever. And although I appreciated that not being explained by some kind of tragic deep reason, it felt completely unnecessary. I loved who he was around Chloe and the friendship they built was really cute, it was leading up to a romance that everyone seems coming but that… falls flat. I was disappointed because I kept waiting for it but when it finally happened, it was anticlimactic because one second Chloe didn’t even think about him that way and the next thing you know she was confessing her crush to him and I was just ??? Even though I saw it coming, it still felt rushed and out of the blue. I make total sense, thanks.
The girls’ mom is another big turn off for me, she was so passive and NEVER stood up for her daughters when her husband -their stepfather- was a douchbag to them, she just sat there and sometimes even defended him *sigh*. Their stepfather. That man is a piece of work, he’s the reason I put a trigger warning to begin with because every time he opens his mouth to talk to Ivy, he’s talking about her weight, what she eats, how she doesn’t exercise, etc…
To sum it up, this book is cute, the sibling love is REAL, and it does a good job at pointing out harmful comments through Chloe’s thoughts, even though that sometimes doesn’t show through her actions. I think I would’ve loved it if the romance was developed better and Chloe had stopped caring about “being that girl” earlier in the book.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Things I should have Known? If so, what did you think?
If you know of any #Ownvoices reviews for this book, tell me so I can link them.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.