‘Things I Should Have Known’ – Claire LaZebnik

Things I Should Have Known

Scheduled for release in March 2017, I have to thank NetGalley for granting me access to an early copy of this novel in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Claire, on the surface, seems a typical American teenager. She has everything going for her, and is rather obsessed with popularity. Determined to help prepare her autistic sister, Ivy, to lead a more independent life, Claire decides it is time to get her a boyfriend. Ethan, a boy in Ivy’s special needs class, seems perfect. Claire can overlook the fact that Ethan is the younger brother of David, the know-it-all in her class who seems to wind her up at every opportunity.

With that kind of summary, you can – if I’m being honest – spot where this is going a mile off. However, though it clearly signals its intentions, the novel quickly veers off in another direction and was definitely better for it.

We are treated in this novel to a story that explores the issue of autism and how it can impact on everyone’s lives. We are treated to a rather sweet romance. We are also treated – and I think this was, by far, the best bit –┬áto a frank exploration of the more complex thoughts and feelings that might be part of the experience of someone living with a family member with autism. Claire and David don’t always get things right, and they certainly have some lessons to learn about themselves and their siblings.