Review of Everything I Thought I Knew, by Shannon Takaoka

Everything I Thought I Knew

by Shannon Takaoka

Candlewick Press, 2020. 308 pages.
Review written December 7, 2020, from a library book

Everything I Thought I Knew is the story of 17-year-old Chloe, six months after she got a heart transplant from an unknown donor. She’s recently been set free by the doctor to live her life, though her parents are anxiously keeping tabs on her, and she’ll be taking medication for life to keep her body from rejecting the new heart.

Chloe’s friends are spending the summer getting ready to go to college, but she has to go to summer school to finish the classes she missed the last semester of her senior year. And besides the nightly dreams about a terrible accident, she’s finding herself drawn to new things and acting out of character.

Without telling her parents, when she’s supposed to be at the library, she starts taking surfing lessons from a teen trying to make a little money. And she makes a friend at summer school and finds out what teens who have no parental supervision can get up to.

Chloe and Jane start doing a little research and discover internet theories about cellular memory, and stories of heart transplant patients who suddenly have skills their donor had and know people who were important to their donor.

Could this explain some of Chloe’s strange experiences?

At this point in the book, I almost put it down. It seemed a little too predictable. And while I think cellular memory might be a thing on some level, my suspension of disbelief didn’t extend to the detailed memories Chloe was experiencing.

But it turns out the book was not predictable at all. There’s a twist at the end I didn’t see coming and did enjoy – though it also was a little too much for my own suspension of disbelief.

But I did enjoy the way this tale is told. You feel Chloe’s bewilderment and her pressure to make the most of her life after the gift of a heart. Although I didn’t completely believe everything about this book, I did thoroughly enjoy it.

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