Little Do We Know, by Tamara Ireland Stone
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Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Length: 416 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: Little did I know how much I’d enjoy this one
Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken in months. Not since the fight—the one where they said things they couldn’t take back.
Now, Emory is fine-tuning her UCLA performing arts application and trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Meanwhile, Hannah’s strong faith is shaken when her family’s financial problems come to light, and she finds herself turning to unexpected places—and people—for answers to the difficult questions she’s suddenly facing.
No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can’t. Not anymore.
Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true.
In alternating chapters, a skeptic and a believer piece together the story of their complex relationship and the boy caught somewhere in the middle. New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone deftly crafts a moving portrait of faith, love, and friendship.
What I Liked: I was wary about this one. Books that feature religion and devout Christians always give me pause, but I’ve always liked this author. Her last YA novel was a huge hit for me, and before that she wrote two of the only time-travel novels that I can sort of follow (I said sort of, Laura, don’t get excited. I still get stressed out if I think about time travel for more than ten seconds because it’s MADNESS I tell you, and how do you keep all the timelines straight and how can one thing change everything or nothing and–ahem. Moving on…). Anyway, I trust the author, so I decided to try this one and I was NOT disappointed.
♥ Hannah. As the devout Christian character, I planned on being annoyed by Hannah. So imagine my surprise when it turned out that I liked her. She ends up questioning her faith or looking at other religions. She begins meditating instead of praying, and I really liked her journey. I was so glad that this didn’t turn into a love triangle, because that would have really ruined things for me. And as a reader who doesn’t usually mind triangles, that’s saying something.
♥ Emory. Confident and strong, Emory was someone who could have come off as one dimensional, but this girl had a lot of layers. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when she’s telling her friends how a teacher told her that seeing her shoulders with her tank top was distracting to boys, and Emory asks her boyfriend if he’s distracted by her. He says he always is, and Emory’s reply is “Of course you are. And that is completely your problem and not at all mine.” GIRL YES, SMASH THAT PATRIARCHY!
♥ Luke. After Luke almost dies from a sports injury, things change for him. He doesn’t turn to religion for comfort, but he does turn to Hannah. Hannah is able to listen to him in a different way than Emory, because she didn’t know Luke before this. She had no real opinion of him, so there was nothing he could tell her that would change her perception of who he had been before the accident. But Luke doesn’t stray from Emory, doesn’t cheat on her with Hannah. He just needs them both, in very different ways.
♥ The portrayal of faith. It’s not shown as the answer to everything, and it never comes across as preachy. Hannah is shown questioning everything she’s ever known, even though she’s the daughter of a pastor and go to a religious high school. She’s even encouraged to question things by one of her teachers, who tells her that it’s normal and smart not to just blindly follow.
♥ The 36 steps. There are 36 steps from Hannah’s bedroom window to Emory’s, and before the fight they always met up there every day. Each of the girls think and talk about that patch of grass often. It meant a lot to both of them, and I had a very clear picture of it in my mind. I guessed what their fight was about pretty early on, but I also understood it from each side. No one was necessarily right or wrong, but sometimes it’s the things you don’t say that matter more than the things you do.
♥ The sex positivity. Luke and Emory are shown to have a sexual relationship within their romance, and there is never any shame or insecurity within it. There’s consent on both sides and it’s not the focus of their relationship, it’s just a part of it. There wasn’t even anything said about it by Hannah, even before she began to wonder about her religion.
What I Didn’t:
⊗ OMG why is the ending so sad. I know things were leading up to exactly what ended up happening the whole time, but I was REALLY REALLY hoping it wouldn’t. In the interest of ~spoilers~ I don’t want to say more, but it was freaking sad, okay.
⊗ OMG why is Hannah’s dad such a dick. He’s a great example of someone who is uber religious but also an asshole. He tries to make up for it at the end, but it didn’t ring true to me, and I just couldn’t get past his bullshit without something more.
⊗ OMG why is Aaron such a creep. I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler because it starts happening pretty fast in the book, but he just is, you guys. Even if he’s not technically a teacher he’s in a position of authority who works at a school, not to mention that he is in his twenties and practically engaged. He had no business being involved with anyone other than his girlfriend, and certainly has no business meeting students at midnight.
Favorite Quotes: “I think the world would be a better place if people stopped every once in a while and questioned everything they thought they knew.”