Everything I Thought I Knew , by Shannon Takaoka
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Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Length: 320 pages
Times Read: Once
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor in this compulsively readable debut.
Seventeen-year-old Chloe had a plan: work hard, get good grades, and attend a top-tier college. But after she collapses during cross-country practice and is told that she needs a new heart, all her careful preparations are laid to waste.
Eight months after her transplant, everything is different. Stuck in summer school with the underachievers, all she wants to do now is grab her surfboard and hit the waves—which is strange, because she wasn’t interested in surfing before her transplant. (It doesn’t hurt that her instructor, Kai, is seriously good-looking.)
And that’s not all that’s strange. There’s also the vivid recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel and memories of people and places she doesn’t recognize.
Is there something wrong with her head now, too, or is there another explanation for what she’s experiencing?
As she searches for answers, and as her attraction to Kai intensifies, what she learns will lead her to question everything she thought she knew—about life, death, love, identity, and the true nature of reality.
Well. This was…something.
We start out with Chloe and her best friend, learning that Chloe is a super overachiever, ready for college, star on the track team. But one day on the track field, she collapses and finds out that she has an undiagnosed heart defect, requiring a heart transplant.
My first small meltdown began at this point. I grew up with a girl named Erica. Our mothers were the best of friends who were what can only be described as *FaNgirLZ* for Michael Bolton. They had all of his albums memorized, were members of several fan clubs, and attended any and every concert that came anywhere near the Philly tri-state area. There was even some, like, softball league that he was involved in? And they would go and watch his practices? I dunno. They were intense. (Bookishgeek, when you say I am extra, perhaps this is where I get it from?)
So. Our moms are BFFs. Erica and I are BFFs. My mom dies, Erica and her mom and I occasionally go to the graveyard to play Michael Bolton music by her headstone. Erica and I get to college, and partway through our sophomore year she collapses in the middle of class from an undetected heart defect. She did not need a heart transplant in the end, which I’m still crazy thankful for. She did, however, suffer massive brain damage because she went without oxygen for too long and THAT, my friends, is why I always, always, always keep my CPR and First Aid Certifications up-to-date.
Chloe does gets the heart transplant she needs and everything goes well. The donor’s family requests anonymity, but that’s fine. Chloe goes to summer school to catch up on the work she missed so she can graduate, but things just don’t feel the same as before. Is it changing priorities after getting a second chance at life? Maybe. But Chloe is starting to have dreams about things that feel like memories. And she’s starting to be interested in things she never cared about before.
Chloe gets into research about cellular memory, which is basically the theory that all of your cells, not just brain cells, can store memories, which is basically fascinating. Because if that were true, then theoretically, memories could be transferred during organ transplants.
Guys this is a REAL THING it is not just made up science for the book. It is definitely highly discounted by scientists, but SIX PERCENT of organ transplant recipients report a distinct change in personality, often paralleling that of their donor.
The husband (officially now the doctor) does not believe in cellular memory which is no surprise honestly. Most doctors don’t believe things you can’t prove. But I do. The whole thing makes complete sense to me and I’m only surprised that the percentage isn’t higher.
We’ve now reached the portion of the review where I’m stalling, because I can’t say anything else due to spoilers, but I really want to say stuff because there were some…there were some choices here. Some choices that the author made that I was pretty not on board with at first read, and thought kind of cheapened the story.
First of all, it’s not my fucking story and this is how it came to the author so this is how she told it and this is what she wanted to say and GOOD FOR HER. What the fuck do I know, she didn’t write the book for me, and the content wasn’t harmful so in the end who cares what my opinion was? Sometimes I wonder this as a blogger, and it’s why I usually post only positive reviews. There is enough negativity in the world, and as long as you aren’t putting harmful content out there, I do not generally believe in yucking somebody else’s yum.
BUT HERE’S THE OTHER THING!
I closed the book at the end, admired the cover once more, and put it away. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I don’t think I didn’t like it. I think I didn’t expect it and I think it challenged me, but I can’t say that I didn’t like it.
And now it is YOUR chance to WIN a copy!
– 10 Winners will receive a Copy of EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW by Shannon Takaoka
– 1 Winner will receive EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW Storytellers BOX
—Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
ENDS: NOVEMBER 30, 2020
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shannon Takaoka is a young adult fiction author who wrote her first book at age 12, when she blatantly ripped off C.S. Lewis with an epic fantasy inspired by THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. (Well, maybe it wasn’t that epic — do 10 pages count?) Madeline L’Engle, Charlotte Brontë, Neil Gaiman and a host of other authors inspired her lifelong love of reading, and she’s especially into all things gothic, weird and nerdy. If a story involves time travel, strange science-y stuff or alternate realities, she’s in.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Shannon now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children and one very needy dog, who is probably leaning on her right now as she’s pecking away on her keyboard. Her debut novel, EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW, about a 17-year-old girl questioning everything about who she is and who she wants to be following a heart transplant, will be published by Candlewick Press on 10/13/2020 and Walker UK in 2021. She promises that it’s a little weird — but in a good way.