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Things I Should Have Known

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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 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.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published March 28, 2017

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About the author

Claire LaZebnik

17 books1,154 followers
HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: UNLOCKING THE INTELLIGENCE OF AUTISM is out! We set out to write a loving, respectful, helpful and supportive book for parents and educators, one that never forgets the value and importance of diversity in our community, and I'd like to think that we succeeded. Please check it out https://hidden-brilliance.org/

The Washington Post says: "But even those outside of that audience who would also benefit from reading it, including autistic former children (present), parents of autistic adults and, for that matter, autistic adults who have thought about having children."

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5 stars
1,067 (23%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 648 reviews
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,629 followers
April 4, 2017
2.5 Stars


Focusing on the relationship between teenage Chloe and her autistic sister, Ivy, this story revolves around their ‘quest to find love’ for Ivy, but quickly proves it contains much more. Instead, this becomes a coming-of-age for both of the sisters.

I received an ARC of this through Netgalley, thanks to HMH Books for the opportunity!


LGBT representation in a healthy and realistic way.

There’s a note at the end that says the author has personal experience with autism and has already written about the topic in nonfiction—and it definitely shows. The topic was handled with care and addressed with a gravity I’ve never quite seen before. It was incredibly refreshing

I greatly enjoyed that the main character has great social skills, an active sex life, and popularity. I find YA tends to demonize most of these things so it was incredibly refreshing to see a female MC who not only possessed these things, but was aware of it.

This had several important things to say about not only LGBT and autism, but also feminism and mental health.

Chloe’s stepfather is one of the most realistic antagonists I’ve ever come across. I absolutely couldn’t stand him, even more for that fact that he feels like someone you could encounter in real life.


Here’s my thing:

This book talks about so many important things. It absolutely does. The glowing reviews have not lied to you.

But the story was sacrificed for those things.

There’s no instalove, which is a plus, but the romance develops so slowly and oddly that I never detected any chemistry between either character? They seemed like they didn’t like each other, and then suddenly they really liked each other. I think this development was hidden underneath all the other topics and sub-plot lines this was saturated with.

I’m not saying I think those topics should have been pushed to the side in favor of the romance—but if you’re going to include a romance, it needs attention too. In fact, I don’t understand why the romance was here at all, and think the story would have been much better without it.

This was so overstuffed it wasn’t just evident in the romance. But a lot of the family dynamics are pushed aside in favor or making the family discuss politics, a lot of the character development is really rushed, most descriptions are lacking in exchange for dialogue, etc.

This randomly would bring up really important topics or discussions and condense them down to one line. The characters would really just reference previous arguments and conversations (that happened off-screen) merely as a way of bringing those topics into the narrative. I don't feel like you can address these important and nuanced topics in one-or-two offhand sentences.

In Conclusion:

A multi-faceted portrayal of autism in a coming-of-age story that’s overstuffed with discussion.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,447 reviews7,544 followers
May 30, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I seriously have no recollection of how I ended up requesting this from the library. I’ve never heard of this author and zero of my friends have read it. At this point I’m almost convinced that I have some sort of weird sleeping disorder where I log on to the library in the middle of the night in order to . . . . .

All I know is I woke up on Saturday morning and turned on the WiFi in order to retrieve a porno scientific study on the mating rituals of werewolves and saw this pop up. Me being me, I took a quick glance at GR and glossed over the synopsis, but . . . .

Because that’s who I am. So going into this I thought it was about Chloe trying to set her autistic sister Ivy up on a date with a dude named Ethan (who just-so-happened to be the brother of David, a real toolbag from Chloe’s lit class) which then resulted in Ivy and David hitting it off. But, per usual . . . . .

I’m going on record to say the above story would have probably equated a 4 Star rating from me, but I do realize baby steps and all and it’s a farkin’ miracle authors have finally started branching out and writing about characters who don’t belong in some cookie-cutter white, upper-middle-class, utopia full of instalove and bullshit. This wasn’t a bad little story at all. Although teenage sex is hinted about, which I know would be a dealbreaker for a lot of parents, I would recommend this to younger teens. A good job is done showing how people can be offensive without even meaning to when it comes to talking about someone “different” than them and that maintaining popularity isn’t necessarily a guarantee to happiness. 3 Stars. I’ll definitely read more by this author.

The following is actually a legit spoilsie-time, so don't open it unless you want to know things and definitely don't come crying that I . . . .

Alright, so the one thing that annoyed me to no end was
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
September 18, 2019
Straightforward, funny, touching and just a little bit heart-rending. I’ve read a few books about autism and I really liked them but most of them are told in the POV of the character with autism. So what I really appreciate about Things I Should Have Known is that it is told by the little sister of the 20-year old girl who has autism.

It’s really good to be able to look into Chloe’s life. How she is constantly worrying about her big sister, Ivy, especially when it comes to the latter’s social life. I really like that Chloe sounds so normal and so unpretentious but at the same time very devoted and selfless. Nowhere in her narrative does it seem like she is fishing for compliments or seeking for a medal. She just really loves her sister that much. Unlike other 17 year olds who always focus on what’s best for themselves, her number one priority is always her sister’s welfare.

One of the great things about the story is Chloe’s surprising connection to David, who seems always all-knowing, smug and kind of a jerk and who happens to be brothers with Ethan who is also in the autism spectrum and is Ivy’s classmate making him Chloe’s main target as a “potential” love interest for her sister.

Because of this shared experience, Chloe and David’s connection with each other is so unlike anything they have had before. They completely get each other. I must say that their super cute romance that has been building up since page one is worth a dozen goofy grins. There is this incredible chemistry between them from the very start and I love how it grew so adorkably. It’s enough to make me squeal. Lol. I definitely enjoyed this book and read it very quickly too.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
October 5, 2017
This book was WONDERFUL. <3333

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Months ago, I received a galley of this book - it was sent unsolicited from Houghton Mifflin (and of course, receiving this galley in no way affected my opinion of the book). So I wasn't sure if I would read it, but recently, a few of my blogger pals read this book, and all of them really enjoyed the book. Throw in the fact that I really enjoyed the one LaZebnik book I've tried - The Last Best Kiss - and I knew I had to squeeze this one into my schedule somehow. I'm so glad I did, because it was a wonderful, thought-provoking, sweet story. With great diversity too!

At a glance, Chloe Mitchell has a great life; she is smart and gets really good grades, her boyfriend is hot, athletic, and a fairly nice guy, and she seems really social and has a great group of friends. But behind closed doors, everything isn't as put-together as it seems. Chloe doesn't have the best relationship with her stepfather, or her mother (since her father died and her mom got remarried). Chloe's older sister is autistic, and Chloe is very protective of and careful with her sister. Chloe's friends don't know much about Ivy, and Chloe sometimes feels as isolated as Ivy. Chloe knows how lonely Ivy is, and so she gets Ivy to start hanging out with Ethan, a boy in Ivy's classes. Ethan is autistic as well, and when Ivy and Ethan hang out, Chloe comes along, as well as Ethan's brother David. David is one of the most annoying jerks that Chloe knows, but as she hangs out with him (and Ivy and Ethan) more, she realizes that he is somewhat antisocial and alone all the time because his devotion to his brother is similar to hers with Ivy. But what if Ethan isn't the right person for Ivy? What is David is the right person for Chloe?

I don't really love or care for most YA contemporary novels that I come across - I'm much more of a fantasy girl, when it comes to YA. But certain YA contemporary authors have produced amazing books that really worked for me - like Kasie West, Emma Mills, Jenny Han, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Julie Buxbaum... I think it's safe for me to add Claire LaZebnik to that list. I'm two for two with books of hers that I've read!

Reading from Chloe's POV was so entertaining and interesting. I love how selfless Chloe is - she sacrifices a lot of time and social opportunities to take care of Ivy or meet Ivy's needs or demands. And yet, Chloe is also good about not giving into to all of Ivy's demands - she does a fairly good job of taking care of herself. Chloe is such a good sister, and a good friend and girlfriend too. I especially liked seeing her stand up for her sister to everyone - even their stepfather, of all people.

Ivy is a lovely character, one that I liked getting to know and learn about. I've had a lot of experience with young adults with autism, but I've never lived with someone with autism or had to spend hours and days with them. I think the author captured Ivy so well - not just Ivy with autism, but Ivy the person, Ivy the older sister, Ivy the lonely almost-twenty-one-year-old. Ivy is a secondary character in this book, but she is so important to the story.

David was a character that surprised me a little. He comes across as an antisocial jerk who gets good grades but is never seen with friends or a girl, so everyone thinks he is weird and unlikable. Even Chloe isn't nice to him at all, in the beginning. But I love how the author changes our minds about him; he stills seems a little antisocial and not a people-person, but we start to understand why. David is always with his autistic brother Ethan when they're not at their respective school, so David doesn't have much of a social life. His father and stepmother have no time or patience for Ethan, and David is all that Ethan has. David is incredibly selfless and such a good person, when you dig deeper. In fact, I'd say Chloe is more of a jerk than David is, in terms of how mean she was to him initially.

Autism is a big part of this book, and I thought LaZebnik handled the condition well, in both characters. Ivy and Ethan, and their fellow classmate Diana, and others in the class - they all have similar tics and mannerisms, but they're also very different, in terms of the spectrum. I appreciated this a lot, because (in my experience) there are so many different behaviors and mannerisms within the spectrum of autism.

The romance - both romances - is not what you'd think! Chloe has a boyfriend for about half of the book. James is cool and there's nothing really wrong with him - he doesn't cheat on Chloe, he's not sleazy, he's not a jerk to her. But he doesn't really get why Chloe is so attentive and devoted to her sister, and about halfway into the story, Chloe and James break up. It seemed fairly natural and with minimal drama, and I actually ended up not minding that Chloe had a boyfriend that wasn't the intended love interest (usually this bothers me because LOVE TRIANGLE).

But this aspect of the romance worked fine for me, because Chloe and David barely knew each other at the time, and they didn't have the best opinions of each other. By the time they both start to develop feelings for each other, Chloe and James break up, and it's a fairly clean break. Chloe and David are great together! They're supportive of each other, and they understand each other. I didn't really swoon over them because there weren't a lot of swoony scenes or magical kisses, but I liked their romance.

Ivy's own romance is great! I had a feeling about it and I think everyone else does too. It was great to see Ivy come out of her shell a little and try new things with Ethan, and explore her feelings about him possibly being more than a friend. Ivy's tentative friendship with Ethan was interesting to see unfold, but her romance is even better.

It was also pretty cool to see the evolution of Chloe's relationship with her stepfather. I hated him initially, and I still don't totally like him, but I liked him more towards the end of the book. Chloe's mom too. David has a strained relationship with his stepmother and his father, and those relationships don't mature like Chloe's do, but they still improve. LaZebnik handled the development of these familial relationships fairly well, in my opinion.

Overall, I have to hand it to LaZebnik - this was a fantastic book. I don't usually like YA contemporary, especially the ones that are heavy with tough issues. This book had "tough issues" (difficult stepparents, struggling find a balance with an autistic sibling, xenophobia exploring relationships), but I like the tone of the book, and how the issues were brought across. This isn't a book that will make you ugly-cry and break your heart - which made me very happy. It is definitely a book that makes you stop and think about xenophobia, and how you view autism, and loved ones of those with autism.

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing really! Maybe more kissing from David and Chloe?

Would I Recommend It:

If you like YA contemporary, then definitely put this one on your TBR! I'm not a YA contemporary person and I enjoyed it. It's worth the read - if anything, it'll open your mind to the a completely different world that you might never have thought about (isn't that the lovely thing about books!). I've never read a YA book like this (I'm sure they exist, I just haven't read any).


4 stars. I really enjoyed this light yet thought-provoking novel! Especially with the diversity it contains. I'm glad I took the chance and read it. I'm excited to see what else LaZebnik will be publishing!

Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
January 9, 2017

When I picked up Things I Should Have Known, I wasn't sure what to expect. YA romances always have the chance of being too cheesy for me and mental illness is not always represented genuinely.

However I was pleasantly surprised in both aspects. The autistic characters in the story and their relatives, how people reacted to everything, felt very authentic.

In the authors bio it did state that she had a son who was autistic and had written two books on autism so I guess that's why this book ended up reading so refreshing and true. The main character also felt very true to age which I appreciated.

A couple small parts were predictable but it wasn't too bad.

Overall great read that I devoured. Would definitely recommend.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

Check out more of my reviews here

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
July 13, 2017

Shockingly enough, this was a book I had passed over because of a couple miniscule details I picked up on in the synopsis. But, seeing as how I have a very particular set of books that work for me nowadays, upon further inspection, this book looked like it was right up my alley. I mean, come on: Douchey guy, arch nemesis (pretty much the whole school’s, to be fair), being pushed together in a selfless act for their siblings…I just couldn’t help but balk and give this one a try. Though, I should have stuck with my first instinct.
“No, thank you,” she says as David catches it neatly in his free hand.
“I insist,” David says, and whips it back at them. It can’t possibly hurt anyone—I mean, it’s a bag of chips-but the gesture is violent, and they both cower away from the Lay’s with little noises of distress. .

Lately I find that I’m so picky that it’s beyond obnoxious. Almost nothing fits my tastes but what I literally have no time to read. Like, say, Victoria Schwab’s latest release. COME TO ME. But, alas, I refuse to ruin something because of time restraints that I know I’d love normally if I had time to read it within a few days. But, if I were to pick up my favorite genre at this time, YA Fantasy, I’d be ruining every book I attempted to soak in. So, here I am, trying to navigate the YA realistic fiction waters with blinders on.
David has one of those bland faces that would get him off for murder because not a single eyewitness would be able to describe him. They’d all be saying stuff like, “Oh, you know . . . hair that’s kind of brown . . . not that straight, but not curly either . . . His nose? Just kind of normal, I guess . . . Dark eyes, probably brown . . . Average size . . .” Meanwhile he’d be off killing a bunch more innocents. And they’d come interview everyone at our school, and we’d all be, like, “Yeah, I’m not surprised. Guy was weird.

^^^ Okay, this is actually one of those moments I laughed out loud….

Yes, sure, this is a favorite genre as well, but when you don’t have the same dialogue with all your GR friends [you used to] and don’t get to scroll the feed for common interests or things that pique your curiosity, you’re constantly stuck looking at the ‘books similar to’ section-and let’s face it: That’s basically a big pile of ‘less than.’ Not often do I find a winner in this section. But here I am, stuck looking and surfing and perusing these dumb attempts to grab suckers who actually think these books have anything in common with a book they adore and aren’t just cherry picked by GR. I never ever did this before because I had all the friend advice possible, guiding me through all the winners each and every time I was looking for an awesome read. Now, here I am, settling in amidst the bottom feeder section….who’s the sucker now?

“Okay,” she says. “Just not bowling. I don’t like bowling.”
“It’s because you’re not very good at it.” Ethan pats her shoulder consolingly. .

But I’m not totally being fair-I guess some of those comparisons are astute and I’m being a bit of a pessimist these days because I just. Can’t. Find. The TIME. To read and review-and it makes me sad. And, ya know, this book wasn’t half as bad as I’m making it out to be. I’m just always looking for that ‘wow factor’ now, and I’m trying to accomplish this with minimal effort-it just doesn’t work that way and I know better. You have to really pay attention and research to find new favorites-they don’t just fall into your lap. (Unless you have great friends like I do/did who are always telling you what you’d love every time you finish a book)
Ethan glares at him but opens his mouth, and David shoves the rice in. Ethan chews and swallows. “It still hurts.”
“You shouldn’t have eaten the chili pepper,” Ivy says. “Everyone knows they’re hot.”
“I didn’t mean to!” Ethan roars at her, spraying chewed-up rice across the table. “It got in my mouth on accident!”
“Chilis can be sneaky,” I say.
“Tricky little beasts,” David agrees. “You can’t trust a chili.”
“Bell peppers, though—they’re trustworthy.”
“The really evil ones are those little shishito bastards,” David says. “Some of them are hot, and some aren’t. You can’t tell until you bite into one. How is that fair?”
“It’s not,” I say. “It’s not fair at all.” .

But enough whining-this book was pretty cute, in concept. I loved the guy in this story (I already can’t remember their names, and it’s only been a couple weeks since I finished this…not a good sign), but found his character was a bit underdeveloped. Or, rather, he was unexplored. He was this mean guy at school, snarking at everyone’s opinions like he was God and knew all, but then all of a sudden he makes exceptions for our MC. Now, this might be me acting a tad selfish- I love assholes in books, and he just showed how nice he truly was too soon for my taste. I wanted a bit more asshole, a little less ‘now you see me for who I am’ so early on in the book… Not that he even said any such Disney type line, but you get it (I think). So, in a way, it was too quick a change of heart-for both characters.
I can’t decide if the world would be a better or worse place if everyone was as honest and literal as these two. Better in some ways, I guess, but maybe a little harsh? .

But what I’m not saying is that obviously we see a little more change in our MC because we are in her head (boring as it is), so it’s a bit more forgivable. With him, we are just like, WHAT? THAT’S IT? BE MEAN TO HER A LITTLE MORE! I think the feminists of the world might not like that statement…I’m sounding a bit crazy. But I am who I am, so oops. Let’s move on.
“Come on,” I say, and shove him toward the exit. “Let’s go. But admit you were wrong about that whole kissing in public thing. It’s not such a crime.”
“It is when I’m not the one kissing you.”
“Were you jealous of James? Even back then?”
“I don’t know,” he says. “Not exactly. And you guys were pretty annoying. I was sincerely disgusted by you”
“But I’ll admit that if I’d been standing where he was standing, I’d probably have had a different view of the whole thing.” .

I didn’t mind the big discovery and the exploration of different…tastes…but I just thought it was handled so oddly-I think this is perhaps just my opinion, though, so take that as you will. It seems like others really enjoyed the secondary character’s adventures, so I stand alone here.

One thing I WILL stand firm on, though, is the shortness of the chapters-I hate this. I have NEVER liked this. And I never will. I kind of thought it made for a disjointed story and mixed it up to the point I didn’t even feel like I could immerse myself into the book-one minute we’re getting somewhere, and then it’s abruptly onto the next chapter. Not a fan. And the characters, or at least our main girl, were written a bit juvenile and a touch vapid-in a ditsy, not easy to relate to way. And I found the way our main guy’s brother was handled/treated was off-handed and not handled the way it should have been…It was just thrown in there and not explored as much as I think it should have been. And his family (And her boyfriend for that matter). Give me a break. Keep your money, cuz I’m not buyin’ it. Just…so odd, if you ask me. So, I think these are by far my largest problems with this book.
Had these details been more fleshed out, I would have had a much larger respect for the story and I wouldn’t have been so nitpicky-but when you can’t help but skim and roll your eyes and continually think-THAT’S IT?! Then there is something wrong.

This review was odd, had stunted writing, and was more like a list of reasons I liked and disliked everything-but who am I trying to impress? I disliked this story and it was handled poorly. IT HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Sooo much wasted potential. Perhaps if a little more effort had been put into the story, I’d have written a more fleshed out review. But, as it is, I don’t give a damn. Oh well.

***Upon further review looking back at the quotes I’d chosen when I read the book [before writing the review], I did think there were a lot of cute moments and I laughed out loud a lot. The main character was actually kind of a funny smart-ass….so…..snaps to her. Also, David (ahh that’s his name, lol) was so sweet-I already said this, but he really was. And his brother was really funny. So, just a positive note to add to my surly review. What’s funny is, I was in a GREAT mood when I wrote the original review…and right now I’m in a HORRID mood….yet I’m being nicer. Curiouser and curiouser….

For more of my reviews, please visit:

Profile Image for Evelina | AvalinahsBooks.
860 reviews440 followers
March 30, 2017
You probably know that I choose YA books quite rarely. I mean, the premise has to be pretty special for me to do it.

But this one just had it.
And I wasn't wrong.

Read the full review with images and buy links here on my blog.

How can I sum this book up? It brought me all sorts of emotions from the very first page. Very readable, very relatable – even though you might not have quite the life the main character has.

In short? Chloe is quite a popular teen. You'd easily mix her up with those air-headed dolls who are most commonly popular, she even has the hot jock boyfriend to prove it. But it's not quite like that. Because although Chloe comes across as such, and maybe tries to pose as one, she has a big soul. It's mostly because she has a sister she's quite close to – Ivy. And Ivy is on the autistic spectrum. With a sister that's quite different from everyone else, Chloe has to be a special human being herself. Because first of all, it's not easy to be close to someone like that. Second, taking care of Ivy and making her life better is no easy task and demands a lot of care and attention on Chloe's part.

Noticing that Ivy's lonely, Chloe sets out on a quite crazy escapade – trying to set her up with one of her (also autistic) classmates. As she has to take and accompany Ivy on her dates, Chloe ends up being put together with Ethan's (the date's) brother, who just so happens to be Chloe's most hated classmate.

All of this really does sound like a simple YA romance, doesn't it?

Except it's not.

Let me bring out some of the points I loved best:

1. Such great representation of autism.
I loved getting to know Ivy and Ethan. Having only had limited and quite negative contact in the past, I can't say I thought of autistic people too well. This book gave me a new perspective. Told me what it's all about. Showed me that as strangers, we can only ever see the bad sides, because you pretty much have to be a VIP to see the good sides, they're not for everybody. More than that – it helped me understand that autistic people are not oblivious (we tend to think that a lot, don't we?) They do know they're different. It hurts them if we don't treat them with respect – with respect to who they are – different, but still human, still warm and loving, breathing and understanding.

2. The book is more diverse than it seems already! If I say anything more, I'll spoil. But let's just say you might be surprised. And again, tough situation – great representation. I was impressed.

3. The main running themes are friendship, sister/brotherhood, tough family situations, understanding different people. Those are all such very good themes.

4. So it's in-part about teen romance. But the romance is so totally backseat , it won't bother you even if you're like me and tend to avoid reading about it.

If you're still not convinced, have a quote:
"You know, if we were pushing our siblings in wheelchairs, people would be nice to them and to us. They'd be like, Oh, the poor handicapped people and their wonderful siblings! Let's hold doors for them! But Ivy and Ethan... they basically look like everyone else, with just these tiny differences in how they behave and move. And that bugs people."

To sum it up, I'm glad I picked up this YA book. This is the good kind (I have had my experiences with too many bad YA books in the past). Books like this SHOULD be read by teens, the more the better. Books like this educate them in a very accessible way.

I am very thankful to Claire LaZebnik and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me a copy of this book prior to it being published (opinions are not influenced by this and are my own). This was a really great read and I truly recommend it.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews985 followers
March 24, 2017
Funny, quirky, honest, and heartwarming. I really loved this book. I was in the mood for something lighter than what I usually go for, and this was perfect: a well-written and inspirational young adult novel. I really enjoyed it.

Chloe has an easy life at school. She's pretty, popular, and dating the best looking guy in school. He's friendly and seems very devoted to her, but he does have one issue: he doesn't really understand Chloe's big sister. Her sister Ivy is very important to her. Their father died years ago, and their mother remarried and seems a little more devoted to him than her children. Ivy is autistic, and Chloe feels very protective over her. When Ivy starts to ask some questions about Chloe and her boyfriend, Chloe realizes that Ivy might want a boyfriend too. It becomes her mission to find Ivy love. She encourages her to contact a boy in her class that she's talked about before, and they make plans to get together. Chloe is in for a surprise, though... the boy is accompanied by a younger sibling of his own: David, who's in her class. He's always come across as rude and arrogant, and Chloe isn't his biggest fan... but putting up with him is worth it if Ivy finds a new companion.

I think I enjoyed this book even more because I have a close family member with special needs, though not autism. I identified with the frustration Chloe and David feel when strangers are rude and stare at their much loved siblings, simply because they happen to be a little bit different. Really cute story that's easy to read and become immersed in.

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and the publisher, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.4k followers
June 17, 2022
i don't remember this book at all.

seeing as i read it 5 years ago, you may be tempted to be like "yeah...duh..." BUT.

i must remind you of my bizarre brain, and further that i have been reviewing books i read 6 or 7 or 8 or a million years ago - because i am a timeless nightmare entity haunting the book community - with relative ease.

so this wasn't a bad book, i can tell by my leftover 3 star rating.

but that's all i have to say about it.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,334 followers
May 8, 2017
“If they can't learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn”

----O. Ivar Lovaas

Claire LaZebnik, an American author, pens an enlightening and heart touching young adult contemporary novel Things I Should Have Known that revolves around a female high school teenager who sets up her autistic elder sister with another autistic boy on a date, but little did she had any idea that the boy's younger brother is her classmate and whom she despises to her heart's content and that they both share the same grief and challenges, despite of their social indifferences.


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 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.

For a popular high school teenager like Chloe, there is no time to think about what her peers think about her personal life, where she every day struggles to stay sane amidst of the advice of her over-caring step father and the curiosity of her autistic elder sister, Ivy. But when Ivy raises some thoughtful questions about her younger sister's perfect love life, Chloe realizes that it is high time that Ivy too needs to find a boyfriend with whom she can spend her time. So she sets her sister up with an autistic boy named Ethan from Ivy's special school. But Ethan's brother turns out to be David, the boy whom Chloe despises and avoids in her school. Yet gradually both Ivy and Chloe rediscover themselves through many challenges like sexuality, relationships and ambitions.

Rarely have I ever came across such a teenage fiction where the author addresses quite a handful of heavy social subjects and stigmas with an air of coolness yet with enough sensitivity. The book covers so many subjects in just 300 pages yet the readers are bound to get a fulfilling experience after reading this book. From teenage love drama to family drama to discovering sexuality, everything has its own weightage in this book, without being too cheesy or too sentimental. Hence the author cleverly draws that line so that the story remains inspiring as well as compelling enough to lure the readers to linger in its essence long after the story has ended.

With an eloquent prose, the author's writing style is extremely coherent and the readers will find it easy to comprehend with the story line. The flow of emotions is smooth although they lack the much-required depth, hence at times the readers might feel impassive, especially about love and relationships, which are the second most important factors of this book. The dialogues have enough sensitivity and are quite articulate that will help the readers relate with the conversations among the characters from this book. The pacing is bit slow, and often drags at times, yet the story line's flair is so brilliant, that it will keep the readers engaged pretty much the entire length of this novel.

The characters are well developed and extremely real to the very core. The author has depicted all the characters with their flaws and strong aspects to give them that honest edge to their demeanor. The main character, Chloe, despite being popular in her high school, is thoughtful and mature beyond her tender age. Chloe's compassion towards her own autistic sister is way above the world and so much encouraging enough to illuminate the minds of those who have an autistic sibling. The family household of the main character that the author captivates through the story line is laced with sympathy and kindness. Ivy's portrayal is extremely authentic and penned with utmost love, that she holds the power to instantly steal the hearts of the readers. The supporting characters aren't that well built as they lack depth and back story that will give them value in the story line.

The romance takes a back seat in this story line, although it plays a huge role in the book. The appealing factor between Chloe and David aren't portrayed with much passion or intensity. In fact, the readers might feel unconnected with their love affair. Whereas the journey of Ivy's love life and other things are painted intricately and vividly with enough emotions to make the readers feel for Ivy's plight. Autism plays a strong backdrop in the story line that is represented authentically with lots of love and sentiments.

In a nutshell, this is a one-of-a-kind and an extremely inspiring coming-of-age teenage contemporary fiction where one will find the realism behind autism, sexuality and teenage love and drama.

Verdict: A simply fascinating tale about flaws, sisterhood and friendships.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.
Profile Image for Courtney.
126 reviews60 followers
August 17, 2017
On the outside, it may seem like eighteen year old Chloe Mitchell has a perfect life, but things are not always what they seem. Sure, she's popular and pretty, gets good grades, and even has an attractive and athletic boyfriend, but that only just scratches the surface.

Chloe has an older sister, Ivy, who is on the autism spectrum, their father passed away from cancer a few years ago, and their mother, who's pretty passive about everything going on, has remarried a man named Ron, who can sometimes be a little hard on the girls (despite his 'good intentions'). Her life is way more complicated than most people realize.

With their father gone and their mother's and stepfather's busy schedule, Chloe spends a lot of her time caring for her older sister. Because of that, though, she worry's a lot about going to college and what that might do to Ivy. But, When Ivy begins expressing interest in some of her classmates and in romantic relationships, Chloe decides to set her up on 'dates', hoping her sister will become more social and less dependent on her to have fun and be happy.

Deemed a perfect match by Chloe, she sets Ivy up with a boy in her class named Ethan. To her surprise, she discovers that Ethan is the brother of her school nemesis, David Fields. Since both Ivy and Ethan insist that their siblings accompany them on all their dates, Chloe and David spend more and more time together, too.

What will happen when Ethan see's past Chloe's popularity and Chloe see's through Ethan's "I couldn't care less about other people's" facade. What will become of Ivy and Ethan's newfound friendship?

“You know, if we were pushing our siblings in wheelchairs, people would be nice to them and to us. They’d be like, Oh, the poor handicapped people and their wonderful siblings! Let’s hold doors for them! But Ivy and Ethan . . . they basically look like everyone else, with just these tiny differences in how they behave and move. And that bugs people. They don’t know what to do with that. It’s like people have a place in their brain for normal, and they have a place in their brain for something obviously wrong, but they can’t deal with something just a little bit different. And that makes them uncomfortable. And when people are uncomfortable, they act like jerks.”

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik is, simply put, a YA contemporary romance, but truthfully its so much more than that! This story is really about sibling love, growing up, romance, friendship, self discovery, and family. There's tons of diversity in this book, which I love! There are blended families, LGBTQ characters, characters with special needs and more. This book deals with so many important topics, and the author writes about all of them in a very tasteful way.

What I love most about this book is how well the author depicts autism. Its refreshing to read a YA book that represents ASD in such a realistic and respectful way. One of my best friends has a brother who has autism, and because I've grown up with them, I could relate to so much of what these characters go through, and I'm sure my friend could relate to this book even more than I do (so I'll definitely be recommending this one to her!).

I really enjoyed Chloe, David, Ivy and Ethan as characters. They each grow so much through out this story, and all have unique personalities. I liked how the author didn't shy away from hinting at her teen characters being sexually active, and that it wasn't depicted in a negative way. That's a rare thing to see in a YA book and let's face it, most teens have sex. So I'm glad about that. I wish some characters were a bit more developed though, and I'll be honest, I sort of hated some of characters too (the parents in this book are sort of awful!).

While I would consider this a YA contemporary romance, the romance in this book sort of gets put on the back burner. I love that this isn't an "insta-love" story and that the characters in this book all take their time figuring out how they feel for each other. However, it sort of felt like Chloe and Ethan were enemies... and then after hanging out just a few times and confiding in each other, they became a couple. I just feel that the development of their relationship sort of got lost within the many layers of this book. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the author put more time and effort into writting about all the other topics included, I just wish that there was a little more to their romantic development. That's really the only part that fell flat for me.

This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Some parts made me really mad, some parts made me laugh out loud and others almost left me heartbroken. This book is full of witty and sarcastic humor, and happy moments that kept things light, but it also had a lot of nerve wracking and tragic parts too.

I highly recommend The Things I Should Have Known, especially to anyone looking for a diverse YA read.

**** I received an eBook copy of this title via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.****
Profile Image for Dee Montoya.
942 reviews579 followers
March 13, 2017

Uplifting and beautiful. Things I Should Have Known is a wonderful novel. A compelling story about a sister trying to find love for her autistic sister. The love and acceptance these sisters have for one another took my breath away, and made my heart sing. I laughed and cried, and had the most amazing time reading this book. I'm completely enamored with Claire Lazebnik's writing style, now that I've discovered her work, I'll make it my mission to read every single one of her books.

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Chloe Mitchell is seventeen, she's a year away from graduating high school, has good grades, a great social life, and a gorgeous boyfriend. Chloe's older sister Ivy is autistic; the Mitchell sisters have a wonderful bond. Chloe is always looking out for Ivy, and lately she's been noticing that her older sister seems lonely, so Chloe has come up with the great idea, to find Yvy a boyfriend.

Ethan Fields is Yvy's classmate, and he seems like the perfect candidate to become her first love. When Chloe arranges their first friendly outing, Ethan also shows up with his brother, who turns out is Chloe's least favorite person in the world, David Fields. David and Chloe go to school together, and they are constantly bickering and at each other's throats. David is sarcastic, negative and plain rude. But the more the four of them go out in hopes that Yvy and Ethan will fall in love, Chloe realizes that there's more to David than his bad attitude, and when things don't turn out the way she's planned and Chloe's world turns upside down, her once nemesis is the only person who she can find solace with.

Honest and refreshing, this is a story that will make you smile. The devotion both Chloe and David had for their siblings was heartwarming and beautiful. I loved how inside a world of chaos these characters defended what was most precious to them, love.

Claire Lazebnik's writing style was so seamless and entertaining that almost forgot I was reading a book, her words transported me right to the heart of this novel. She made something unknown to me feel completely familiar. Lovely story, I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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Profile Image for Tala .
192 reviews89 followers
April 18, 2017
Consider me very very impressed.

Guys, help me out: You know those books that, staring at the cover or reading the synopsis or just from page one, you know they're going to be special? Does this feeling have a name?

Call it a gut feeling. Call it a psychic sense. Maybe it's magic? One can only guess.

I've had this experience (and been proved right sometimes, thank goodness) with books like Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic, and The Winner's Curse. And now? Things I Should Have Known joins those books. The ones that feel special and ARE special.

Where do I start? There's just so much to talk about, so much to love. But I'll start with the idea in general.

The concept of creating a sisterly relationship with autism included is impressive. Why? Because a)sibling dynamics are so sweet and capture 99.87% of my attention in a novel, and b) I haven't read many books with good autistic representation, and I've actually been looking for a book that includes this.

So you can probably imagine my satisfaction when I stumbled across this one, AND how happy I was to know that this book was worth it.

The characters are interesting, so interesting. Chloe might seem to be your typical all-popular high school girl, but her characteristics are not confined to just that. There's so much more going on in her head and at home, and I like the message that you can never really know someone just by their typical behavior, because there's always a story to each person that is never told.

Unless, of course, you ask. And see.

Ivy, too, is developed with finesse. LaZebnik portrayed autism accurately (I believe her son has autism and she also co-authored a nonfiction book about autism itself, if I'm not mistaken??), and I liked the fact that there is so much more to Ivy than just the autism; she has her own personality and likes and dislikes. Authors typically forget this part so, so often. And that saddens me.

LaZebnik, though, is better than that. And i respect this.

The pacing, too, is on point. Pacing is always a little odd and, frequently, a little off as well, but THINGS I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN flows smoothly, and even the slow-ish parts are still so interesting, you can't even notice the pace has slowed down until it picks back up again. Love love love.

Bottom line: I love all brotherly-sisterly books. All of 'em. And TISHK's premise sounds awesome and is awesome. I was destined to love this. And I did.

NOW GO READ THIS. I command you.

*laughs evilly while stroking this pretty cover with all its scratched-out-paradoxical-title-of-awesomeness glory*

Thank you, HMH Teen, for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Casey.
391 reviews97 followers
February 14, 2017
Things I Should Have known is the story of Chloe a popular, self-assured, teen that I found really realistic and true to herself even though she has some flaws, I want flawed truthful characters I want real life things that are annoying but also truthful and that's what I got with Chloe.

After Ivy starts asking questions about Chloes relationship and kissing Chloe decides to have a look into Chloes class when she picks her up and scopes out the class for a potential more than friend for her sister.

Ivy has Autism, she has trouble identifying facial cues or responding to social situations the "right" way but as she is 20 and has been in school learning these things she's not incapable just has to think about things a bit more before she acts, liking shaking someones hand or introducing people.

Ethan the boy Chloe has deemed perfect for her sister is better in social situations and doesn't self stimulate as much as Chloe unless he's really anxious or upset.

After arranging to take Chloe on her date with Ethan she realises his brother is David. The sullen, moody boy from school that always corrects her in english and seems to love to argue with her and call her gross when she's with her boyfriend. Chloe and David slowly start to know each other and become friends being able to talk about having a sibling with autism and being able to have someone who just gets it.

I loved Chloe's confidence and that she was one of the popular kids, the thing that wanted to make me shake her was her acceptation of people being nasty or wrong on subjects and not sticking up for the things she believed in or correcting anyone. That's why David was my favourite character he's more like me when it comes to my Brother, he'll address people who are making snide comments or staring, he'll correct you when your wrong and defend his brother with everything.

The portrayal of being a sibling of Autism was authentic and hit close to home, yes it can be annoying and frustrating but I wouldn't have it any other way.

A lot of the stigma that surrounds Autism is shown and I loved a line from David, it's like the author reached into my brain and wrote what I couldn't form into words:

"You know, if we were pushing our siblings in wheelchairs, people would be nice to them and to us. They'd be like, Oh, the poor handicapped people and their wonderful siblings! Let's hold doors for them! But Ivy and Ethan... they basically look like everyone else, with these tiny differences in how they behave and move. And that bugs people. They don't know what to do with that. It's like they've got a place in their brain for normal, and they've got a place for something obviously wrong but they can't deal with something a little bit different. And that makes them uncomfortable. And when people are uncomfortable they act like jerks. "

Another thing I loved was David and Chloe discussing their future with their siblings, having a dependent sibling makes you look at life and think what will I do when we're older, how will I stay and help my parents? What happens when my parents aren't here anymore? It's a big decision and David and Chloe experiencing those feelings in the book made me connect to them.

Another thing I liked about this book are the parallels between Davids step mum and Chloes step dad, I'm sorry but anti vaxxers out there you are ridiculous, fight me on this I swear.

Chloes step dad may not get somethings but he really does care and I liked his pro action in trying to help another step parent like himself.

4/5 stars and I highly recommend this book! Thank you to the publishers and new galley for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
421 reviews103 followers
March 18, 2017
Things I Should Have Known is a wonderful and heartwarming novel. Not only is it deep, but it is also very educational.

Chloe is your typical high school girl. She is beautiful, popular, blonde and in love with the most popular guy at her school. When she notices her autistic sister is sad and lonely, she steps out of her narcissistic bubble and decides to help Ivy by finding her a boyfriend. On her journey to help her sister, Chloe not only learns to see her sister in a new way, but learn about the mistakes she's made in the past, and just how wrong she was.

I personally didn't like Chloe at all. Okay maybe she started to get a little bit better near the end of the novel, but at the beginning I could not stand her. My hatred for her was so strong I almost gave up on the book.

The reason I didn't give up was because of David and Ivy. Both of them were amazing characters, so different in their own way, yet really amazing. Ivy really surprised me, I haven't read book about autistic characters before, so this was a first for me, then when we find out more about Ivy I almost fell off my chair. She is so pure and gentle, I absolutely love her.
David on the other hand, I mean how could you not love that sass? I loved hearing about his story, especially when he started opening up. His character development was really wonderful, and intriguing.

I found the book to be a little boring at first, but after about 40% in I was really starting to like the characters and had to finish reading. The writing itself wasn't my favourite, but I got used to it after a while and didn't mind it near the end.

The romance in this book was really wonderful to read about. The connections were so very real and the development was so strong. I definitely recommend this for all the cute romance lovers out there.

Overall, this book was really eyeopening and so very enjoyable. I definitely recommend giving it a read if this sounds like the type of book you would go for.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
512 reviews298 followers
May 7, 2017

Mini review:

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I had initially heard about this book through my friends' reviews. Once I read the synopsis I was sold! Unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

The interactions with the characters felt forced. Specifically the dialogue. I couldn't bring myself to read further and just dropped it.

I do still recommend it because I think it'll be cute.
Profile Image for Iris.
550 reviews253 followers
August 31, 2020
This book was good... Quite frankly though, I read it two months ago, so do I remember what happened? NO. I'm just going to put together a short list of my thoughts.

- Chloe had great development... (I think??)

- Ivy was super sweet, as was Ethan.

- David was an asshole but I liked him a lot.

- It was fun and funny and had good banter?? I think? (lol I really don't remember this book very well)

- AUTISM REP, which I can't speak on personally, but from reading other reviews, I believe it was good rep.

- The plot twist was really obvious... I totally predicted it... It also felt a little sudden, but I think that was only because we were reading from Chloe's perspective, not Ivy's. But while that specific part might have worked much better from Ivy's perceptive, I really loved reading from Chloe's perspective for the most part, and she WAS the right narrator for this story.

- Also can I just say the plot twist was actually amazing, even if it was obvious. I swear it went like this:

Overall? Not the most memorable book I've ever read, but it was sweet and fun, and I WOULD recommend it for sure!

***Initial Reaction, September 24, 2018***

This was so sweet and lovely! And I adored these characters! RTC.
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,543 followers
March 26, 2017
Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review

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.
Profile Image for Hristina.
515 reviews77 followers
February 4, 2017
In my opinion, Things I Should Have Known is Mrs. LaZebnik's best work. Her characters are well-developed and realistic, the best feature of the text. The whole storyline is filled with surprising moments that wowed me, I had a hard time putting it down. Every aspect of it is executed in a beautiful manner.
This book is a must-read for fans of the YA/Contemporary genre.
Profile Image for Bethany.
355 reviews706 followers
October 21, 2020
Please note that this review comes from my point of view as an actual autistic.

I thought I was going to like this book, I really did. After reading reviews from other reviewers I generally trust, I had high hopes that this would have good autism rep and would be a fun read. Instead, this was not only a huge disappointment, but quite frankly it was both upsetting and offensive to read, as all I could think about was is this how people see me & think about me when they spend time with me? As if I'm a burden, understand nothing and basically can't think for myself?

The autism rep in this book was flat out offensive - there were so many problematic elements and scenes that I'm not really sure where to begin. For starters, it began by describing Ivy, one of the autistic characters, as looking like an oversized 5 year old (and let's not forget the section that describes autistics as looking like murderers), and depicts her as needing protection from the outside world. This characterisation continues throughout the book, with the autistic characters being depicted as children without their own agency. There was so much ableism in this book - both flat out in the way that other characters treated Ivy & David, and internalised in the way the book was written. Ivy was at a 'special needs' school, which really didn't seem beneficial to Ivy or her development, and seemed to be holding her back (please note this is not me critiquing different schooling systems/forms, only saying that the school Ivy was at did not seem to be the best fit for her).
'Yeah, well, that’s probably true: the class is specifically for kids on the autism spectrum. There’s probably not a lot of conversation for conversation’s sake.'
This quote comes from a discussion about Ivy's school, and is both incorrect and offensive. Just because autistics have difficulty with social cues/norms does not mean that they can't have conversations or communicate with other people. Of course, there are autistics that are non verbal or that struggle with conversation - that does not mean that all autistics experience these struggles (if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism), or that autistics can't communicate or maintain friendships, as this book seems to suggest.
“I wish she could stay in high school forever.” 
“Yeah, I know. It’s safe for them there.”
There are just so many things wrong with this discussion that I can't even comprehend it. You are aware that autistics can (and most do) live very fulfilled, happy, active lives - stop belittling autistic characters and treating them as if they have no agency.

The way Chloe tries to micromanage Ivy's life when it is clear that Ivy isn't interested or comfortable with her doing so is incredibly problematic. Ivy is a human being with her own agency, so how about we treat her as such? Chloe says she wants Ivy to make friends, but is only happy when Ivy befriends the people Chloe has picked out for her. She doesn't listen to what Ivy wants or needs, and although she says she has Ivy's best interests at heart, it's clear that she is being selfish and patronising. The scene where Ethan & Ivy are on a date, and Chloe's internal monologue goes:
Part of me wants to cheer him on, and the other part wants to say, Whoa there, Dude. Make sure the lady wants it. But I’d be the first to admit that, in this case, it’s a little hard to know what the lady wants.
First of all, consent is important and Ivy has not given it. In fact, I don't know how Ivy could be any more clear about what she wants, not only to Ethan, but to Chloe and every other character trying to force her into a relationship with him. Also, why can Ivy only date an autistic lesbian? Autistics are not limited to only dating other autistics.

I can’t stop thinking about how vulnerable Ethan is— how childlike in so many ways. But other people won’t look at him and think that. They’ll see a young man— and an odd one, at that— so no one’s going to go up to him and offer to help, the way they would if a little kid was lost. Anything could happen to him. Anything. The world is such a mean and big and judgmental place. And Ethan, like Ivy, has no guile, no social awareness, no ability to see beyond what people say to what they may be thinking or scheming. Which makes him an easy target. And Ivy too. She’s safe at home right now. But that can’t always be true. There are going to be times when she has to be out on her own. She can’t just hide at home for the rest of her life, because that’s not a life. But being out in the world is dangerous for someone like her, because . . . people. 
I want to protect Ivy and Ethan, and I also want them to be independent, and right now it feels like those two things can’t coexist, and I feel hopeless'
God, this passage fills me with so much rage and hurt that it's not even funny. 'people like her'? 'no guile'? STOP referring to autistics as children, STOP assuming they have no agency and STOP reinforcing harmful and incorrect stereotypes. In fact, the whole issue with Ethan running away was really badly handled - Ivy is not unintelligent, she would realise that Ethan is not okay after he has been missing for 24 hours.

Even without the horrible depiction of autism, Chloe would be an incredibly unlikeable character. She's nOt LiKe OtHeR gIrLs, and is incredibly rude to everyone she meets, for no apparent reason. At the beginning, I thought it would be interesting to see Chloe's side of things - because I do understand the anger, frustration, etc. that a neurotypical sibling might feel, and I thought it would be interesting to see this explored. However, there was so much blatant and internalised ableism coming from Chloe that was never rectified or addressed, and I find this incredibly problematic. Chloe's sudden turn around at the end of the book, where she randomly started liking her parents and thinking they're nice, also made no sense. Not only was it out of character, but her parents just aren't nice. Their Mum is entirely self absorbed - Ivy deserves a life and people that love her for who she is. It shouldn't be about whether the Mum is scared for her - she clearly does nothing to help Ivy and actively works against her. Ron's 180 was also unbelievable and came from nowhere.

There were only two positives from this book - it was a super quick/easy read, and I did appreciate the sex positivity, as I think sex is often ignored in YA, even though most teens have or think about sex in some way shape or form, so it was nice to see it included and normalised without being graphic. However, these two minor positives do nothing to erase the harmfulness of this book.

Things I Should Have Known attempts to look like it’s fighting ableism, but instead was just an entire book of internalised and outright ableism, propagating harmful and incorrect stereotypes. Every single character was absolutely horrible and disrespectful to Ivy and Ethan, treating the autistic characters as children with no agency. This book was not only harmful, but it was incredibly upsetting to read, and I absolutely without a doubt would not recommend it.
Profile Image for Alessandra Crivelli.
221 reviews67 followers
March 17, 2017

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC through Netgalley.

This was such a freshly and overwhelming reading about siblings love ❤
I don't think I ever read something about Autism in my life but both this story and its characters were so realistic.


It is such an open minding reading and at the same time it's also quite of funny.
Things I should have known tells the story on how it is to caring and loving for someone who is autistic, what are the worries and lives of people who has an autistic family member.
It is so touching. I won't spoil anything about this book but you will be deeply touch by this book and maybe you will start to see the people around you a little different. (Always remember that not all the diseases are visible).
Profile Image for Калина Минчева.
392 reviews85 followers
May 26, 2018
Страхотна YA история за "различните" хора, които просто правят света по-добро място. Сладка и непринудена, много деликатно балансирана върху теми, които все още се смятат за табу сред обществото. Трогателна и пълна с поуки - книга, която ще спечели сърцето ви с първите си думи.
Нещата, които трябва да знаете за тази книга:
- "да бъдеш различен е едно от най-нормалните неща на света"
- "Феминистът е човек, който вярва, че жените трябва да имат р��вни права. Така че или си феминист, или си идиот."
- чете се на един дъх...
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews87 followers
March 27, 2017
I loved the relationships in this novel. They're so adorable! It's also very realistic and it opened my eyes about autism.
Profile Image for Jill Pickle.
411 reviews8 followers
October 25, 2016
I loved the way this book starts out on one track a standard romancey trajectory) and then veers off into something different and deeper. This book explores the tricky space between caring deeply for a sibling and imparting your own desires or assumptions about them on to them. And it is so. Readable.

The way family dynamics are explored feels so real, even the parents involved are fleshed out. I even ended up begrudgingly respecting the stepdad in the end.

The romantic development between two of the characters (won't say who as I'm posting before this even pubs BUT I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK!) is natural, funny, and cute--I may have even giggled once or twice.

I read a lot about autism and I love the way autistic characters in this book are respected, treated realistically, and portrayed as both super-human saints (for not being susceptible to petty human meanness) and plain old annoying sibs. It's so clear this author loves someone with autism (shocker: she does, her son.)
Profile Image for Meli.
617 reviews399 followers
September 25, 2017
Muy tierno, entretenido y ganchero.
Es bastante emotivo y trata muy bien el autismo, están muy bien definidos los perfiles de los personajes. Es muy realista y nada hipócrita, me gusto eso.
AUNQUE sentí que utiliza demasiado la palabra "normal" para diferenciar a las personas que tienen autismo de las que no, incluso en un momento dicen algo como "no ser raro". Si bien en general está bien como maneja todo, eso me chocó. Aunque tal vez (y espero) sea una impresión mía, la autora escribe libros sobre autismo y tiene un hijo autista. Imagino que no es tan bestia.
Profile Image for Whispering Chapters.
973 reviews284 followers
March 27, 2017
This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.
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 :D 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.This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.
Profile Image for Kris Mauna.
509 reviews49 followers
March 5, 2017
Things I Should Have Known took me by surprise, and completely swept me off my feet through its lovable characters and thoughtful, heartwarming story.

"It's like people have a place in their brain for normal, and they have a place in their brain for something obviously wrong, but they can't deal with something just a little bit different."

At first, I thought I was reading about our usual pretty, popular girl with the perfect boyfriend when we first meet Chloe.. But she felt unique as her layers were pulled away and we truly got to know her. Here's the thing, Chloe doesn't necessarily care too much about being popular (more like her need for everyone to find her nice) or having the perfect boyfriend, it's more like that's the cards she's been dealt with thanks to her confidence/personality.

Her inner struggles are what really set her apart from other protagonists in YA contemporaries. Chloe's thoughts are constantly being drawn back to her home life, where life becomes complicated and stressful for her. The heart of this story is family, and I appreciated this so much. Chloe's relationship with her older sister, Ivy, who is autistic is something truly special.

Ivy has such a huge heart and is a big sweetheart. Chloe and Ivy spend a lot of time together and it's great because you can tell how much alike they are because of it, but they are also so different. Chloe can be a bit sarcastic at times and there were moments when Ivy would mimic things she's heard through Chloe's mannerism. I just really loved these sisters.

As the story progresses, Chloe is determined to help Ivy with her dating life because she's worried about her sister becoming too lonely, and maybe she wants a little bit of freedom also. Enter our other main characters, Ethan and his brother David. Ethan's Ivy's classmate and once Chloe sees him she constantly tries to bring them together to forge a friendship. As for David, well Chloe and him happen to go to school together also.. And hate each other. EVERYONE knows how much I LOVE hate-love romances and theirs was super cute! They balanced each other out well because Chloe is sweet and David comes off as a jerk most of the time. . . But deep down they are both kind and caring and they form a bond over their siblings.

Their relationships with their siblings was everything in this book and I was all for it. I don't have anyone in my personal life that is autistic so I can't say how well that aspect of this story was portrayed.. But I can say that it was explained well and didn't give us a one-sided view of autism. We see both Ivy/Ethan's frustrations and Chloe/David's own struggles with it. I appreciated how we saw the good and the bad, the patience and frustrations that came along, and everything in between.

It all wraps up nicely. I think this is Claire LaZebnik's best work! I really loved this story because it not only tackled autism but it found a great way to bring up LGBTQ issues as well. It's a fantastic read with a strong story and great characters, even the unlikable ones (cough Chloe's boyfriend cough) play a role in the overall theme of this book. Highly recommend to everyone, especially those who enjoy contemporaries!

* Quotes listed above are subject to change.
Profile Image for Amanda.
160 reviews76 followers
March 20, 2017
An excellent book that focuses on a loving relationship between two sisters, Chloe and Ivy. Ivy, who has autism and Chloe who cares more about her sisters well being than anything else. Having someone very close to me who is autistic allowed this book to speak volumes, I truly have not read a more realistic YA novel before. The characters, situations, and storyline felt like a true story. Though my experiences with my loved one who is autistic differs, I can still relate to this story 100% because the writing style is so pure and real. I don't want to spoil too much of this, so in a quick summary, Chloe wants Ivy to experience life as much as she can, so she sets forth to try and find her a boyfriend. Come to find out that Ivy's perfect match, Ethan, is also the brother of David, a boy that Chloe does not get along with...until she gets to know him. This story follows these 4 main characters into their journey of love and friendship and it's a definite must read!
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