Everything I Thought I Knew

Everything I Thought I Knew
Age Range
Release Date
October 13, 2020
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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.

Editor review

1 review
Everything I Thought I Knew
(Updated: August 04, 2020)
Overall rating
Writing Style
What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super-achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high school and gets a new heart. Takaoka nails the stress and pressure on some teens who go overboard with their high school academics in order to get into that 'right' university. Chloe is very determined and driven. Her whole life has been planned in advance, until that fateful day when everything changes.

Things change once Chloe gets a new heart. Her best friend Emma moves on and graduates from high school while Chloe has to take summer school classes. But that's not all. Chloe 'sees' things that make her question her own sanity. For a girl who is big into science, none of this makes sense. I really liked how Chloe struggles with her new 'norm', which includes becoming friends with Jane, the resident bad girl and supplier of pot. Also Chloe has an overwhelming urge to surf. She ends up getting Kai, a really cute surfer, to help train her every Wednesday.

I loved the chemistry between Kai and Chloe. Readers can sense that there's something magnetic going on with these two. There's also subtle hints on the 'reality', which is heartbreaking, but also one that Chloe needs to face up to in order to move on with her own life.

There's a fantasy twist toward the end that kind of felt 'forced' to me. But once I continued reading, it all kind of made sense. Chloe is huge into physics and the idea of string theory, which asserts that there are multiple universes out there. Fascinating and also a big insight into a complicated situation that's not all black or white.

Engaging, page-turning story where a heart transplant patient questions everything she felt she knew in life and finds the courage to embrace her new reality.
Good Points
1. Intriguing plot of a seventeen-year-old heart transplant patient
2. Engaging, heart-breaking
3. Fantasy twist toward end
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