You Don’t Even Know by Sue Lawson

Annike: Hey guys, so I read this book towards the very end of September on a limb after Zoe picked it up for me at the library. I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought and definitely wanted to share my review and encourage you guys to give it a look too! I can’t believe that it has under 500 ratings on Goodreads but without further ado let’s get onto it.

Alex Hudson is a good guy. He plays water polo. He has a part-time job. He’s doing okay at school.

Then the thing that anchors Alex is ripped away and his life seems pointless.

How can he make anyone else understand how he feels, when he doesn’t even know?

I’m not going to lie, this blurb is rather vague which I think takes away from the story but honestly it is an amazing read. So, this book focuses on a teenage boy called Alex both in the present and the past. In the present he is in a hospital being treated after an accident in which he was hit by a bus. In the present however he is simply living life with his parents, his two overachieving brothers and his younger sister. The story flicks between these two time-periods and in both we are introduced to an event so horrific that Alex was torn apart by, maybe even enough to throw himself in front of that bus? Or maybe not?

I really loved this book. Enough so that I finished it in a single afternoon and even then, it took some extreme measures to get me to part ways with it. My favourite thing about the book definitely had to be the way that Sue Lawson portrayed the characters and set them up to the audience. There were characters like Alex who I absolutely adored from page 1, and 50 pages in was certain that I was going to like the book because of how engaging he was. But Sue Lawson also made me feel so bad for him as a character as well. There were other characters like Alex’s Dad and his brother Ethan that were so perfectly characterised for me to hate. There was just something about them that made me so mad and the way that they treated Alex was so unfair. And then there was Mia who was Alex’s younger sister. She was such a beautiful character with so much innocence and beauty and it was clear how much Alex loved her. Overall I think it was so powerful that I was able to really feel for the characters and this was definitely my favourite aspect of the story.

In terms of the plot, I definitely enjoyed reading more about Alex’s life outside of the hospital and in the past where he was dealing with the challenges of his family and friends. His Dad was the type of father who was very hard on Alex and had clear favourites. Instead, he loved Alex’s brothers who were into rowing like him while Alex preferred water polo. And Ethan, Alex’s older brother was so unbelievably rude to Alex that it made me want to hit him. Yet it was really interesting to read about his family dynamic, the way he loved his sister Mia and the way he handled his friends who were so different to him and lacked support in almost everything he did. I loved reading about the way he handled some of these challenges and how he struggled in this life.

On the other hand, in the hospital, both himself and another young patient called Mackie were in the hospital after surgeries and were recovering. I didn’t enjoy reading about this part of his life as much because it was very slow paced and I found that not that much happened. However, the characters in this part of the story were great too and it was nice to see Alex making his own recovery after the trauma. I do think that the book is very driven and enticing because there are twists and turns every chapter. Lots of things are really well kept quiet by the author and then revealed at great moments. Plus, as the reader you are left in the dark about a number of things which makes it all the more suspenseful.

So yeah, I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it to all young adult readers and beyond. Even though it might not seem it by the blurb it is really a heartbreaking story that is so powerful and definitely one of my favourites for the year! Thanks for reading guys and we’ll be back in a few days with another post.

4.5/5 stars

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