Great Autism Representation | Things I Should Have Known

 This is a spoiler-free review.

things-i-should-have-known

 Book Title: Things I Should Have Known.

 Author: Claire LaZebnik.

 Series: Standalone.

 Page Count: 350 Pages (Kindle Edition).

 Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary & Mental Health.

 Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 I kindly received a copy from HMH Books on Netgalley for review, this has in no way affected my opinion. 

 Synopsis

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:
Set-ups are complicated. Ethan would be a perfect boyfriend…for someone other than Ivy. David is the one person who really gets Chloe.

Things I Should Have Known will be released on 28 March 2017.


I went into Things I Should Have Known with very high expectations; I requested this because I was super excited to read a book where the sole focus would be on characters with Autism. This has always been a topic of interest for me and I couldn’t wait to read it! Fortunately I wasn’t disappointed by the Autism representation in this book, but I was however disappointed by a number of other things.

 What I Liked:

The Autism representation in this is really good! It shows the struggles that Ivy and Ethan had in their every day lives and in social settings. I really think the representation is accurate as the author has a kid that has Autism. I was really skeptical that we wouldn’t get the full picture of Ivy and Ethan’s Autism because the story was told exclusively from Chloe’s point of view but the author did a really good job translating what Autism is like. I also really liked that we got to experience Autism from two very different characters. 

I really liked Ivy, she was an interesting character with a curious mind and a knack for repeating factual information. I liked Ethan even more – he was just such a sweet character and I could definitely relate to his obsession with movies. I loved the great bonds that our siblings shared. David (Ethan’s brother) was such a dark horse but he cared so much about Ethan, it was endearing to see. I also loved the amazing relationship that Chloe and Ivy shared.

And how he treats my sister like a human being. Not like a pet, not like an idiot, not like an alien. He includes her, talks to her, listens…

I loved the different family dynamics represented in the story, neither Chloe nor David had the perfect family. David and Ethan came from a divorced family with a new mom and Chloe and Ivy lost their dad to cancer and their mom had remarried. I loved that the author included these family dynamics and that the families weren’t your normal happily ever after family, they were different and I think loads of readers can relate to that.

I liked that the author also added another aspect of diversity by making one of the characters gay. I’m not going to elaborate too much on this point as I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I did appreciate that this extra bit of diversity was part of the story.

 What I Disliked:

I really didn’t like Ron, the girls stepfather, he was rude and I felt like he was constantly trying to break Ivy down. He constantly kept telling her to eat less and that boys wouldn’t like her if she was fat. He was basically body shaming her every chance he got and I was not okay with that. I really didn’t like this and especially not in a YA novel. This is really a bad representation to give to girls as they might think that they will not be good enough for boys if  they eat that extra slice of pizza.

That’s why she can’t lose weight, you know. She spends all her free time sitting in front of the TV. You have to get her to move more. 

I also thought that Chloe’s boyfriend James was a total douchebag; it seemed like he only cared about himself and his image and he constantly made fun of Ivy and the fact that she had Autism. He felt that people with Autism was weird. I didn’t appreciate this behaviour in a book that was suppose to be about positive Autism representation.

The romance just didn’t work for me. The romance between Ivy and Ethan felt a bit forced, but that could be due to the fact that they weren’t exactly comfortable with intimacy. But the romance between Chloe and James also did nothing for me, also the later relationship between David and Chloe felt too forced. This is not a spoiler because it is clear from page one what is about to happen. All in all the relationships in this novel just didn’t have any spark or intimacy.

 If you liked this, you’ll like:

queens-of-geek

I really loved this novel for its amazing Autism representation and I think it’s a great read for that. I’ll definitely recommend reading it if you’re interested in Autism, just look past all the other problematic things.

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8 thoughts on “Great Autism Representation | Things I Should Have Known

  1. It’s so good to hear that this is a good autism representation. This book was brought to my attention by the parents of a kid I work with who is on the spectrum, and I’ve been planning to check it out. Too bad that it wasn’t as good in the other areas as you hoped!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find books about autism interesting, my older brother has a form or autism called Aspergers and so I like really good representation in books because I like to feel like I’m making steps to understand it better. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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