By: Shannon Takaoka
Genre: YXA - Personal & social issues: body & health
Published by: Walker Books
Published: 4 Aug 2021
ISBN: 9781406395365


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.


Chloe is seventeen, and super driven to succeed. But when she collapses at running practice, it is soon discovered that she has a failing heart - and will need a transplant to survive.

But when the new heart arrives, so do lots of other new feelings...

Now having to complete summer school in order to qualify for University, Chloe is no longer so committed to getting good grades. She’s changed, and school is no longer the most important thing. More than that, she suddenly knows how to ride a motorbike, fast, and is learning to surf under the coaching of the mysterious Kai.

The transplant and the aftermath leads Chloe to question everything she thought she knew. Can our cells contain memories? What makes us who we are? Could the scientifically accepted laws of the universe relating to life and death, time and space, be wrong?

This is a marvellous coming of age novel, covering existential questions as well as themes of love, friendship, life changing experiences and how we view the world. Everything I Thought I Knew will be loved by readers, and is best suited to those in middle and upper secondary levels.

Reviewed by Rob