Book Rec: Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson



I *adored* this book so much. It's definitely going to be in my best reads of the year list. I've been in the mood for a good, solid, straight-up, slow build contemporary--no shifters or magic in sight--and this was exactly what I needed. There are so many things I loved about it.

First, the first person POV narrative voice was so witty and funny. It reminds me of a kinder, gentler "Tell Me It's Real". It took me a chapter or two to get into it, but then I just floated all the way through, often laughing outloud. I highlighted favorite passages like a wild person.

Second, I love gfy-coming of age stories and this one was ideal. The main MC, Howie, is 22 but he's been living at home helping out his mom after his father's death and he is still a virgin. He thinks he likes girls--until he meets Arthur. At first there's a lot of antagonism between the two, but Hannah places lots of hints that Howie's feelings are mixed, to say the least.

There's a slow-burn romance, which I love, and some lovely UST. Howie and Arthur are very cute together and crazy (obnoxious, funny) Howie helps stiff Arthur come out of his shell.

I loved the setting of the yarn shop and all the secondary characters were fully-fleshed and lovable. Kristy was hilarious and I loved the Mitch/Amber subplot. Lots of sweet, adorable feels and snarkiness. It doesn't get any better than that!

If there was one thing I would have liked more of, it was the sexy times. Other than a few kisses, all of it was off-page. Which, you know, it doesn't need to be endlessly explicit, but when it's an MC's first time, and first time with a guy, I at least would like to be present for it, even if it's described in a high-level way, because it is rather transformative. But compared to the joy this book gave me, that's a minor nit.

I hope Hannah Johnson writes more. I'll be first in line to buy it. Some of my favorite quotes:

My mind turns back on gradually, clunkily, the way lights go on in a warehouse, row after row, click-buzzz - click-buzzzz - click-buzzzz.

Every piece of me -- every nerve, every hair, every damn cell -- sings out one matching song in perfect harmony, and that song is FUUUUUUUCK.

...all of a sudden it's like, here he is, in the flesh, he's still a flesh-type creature that exists, and it's flesh that's been in contact with my flesh, I wish I would stop thinking the word 'flesh,' you know what's a gross, creepy, weird word? 'Flesh.' I think my brain is melting. I think I've having a stroke. Or a coronary. Or porphyria. I KNEW HE WOULD GIVE ME PORPHYRIA.

"Um," Arthur says. He's looking at me dead-on, like he's forcing himself to do it. God, I wish he would knock it off. I also wish he'd lose his eyelashes in a freak eyelash fire incident. And his lips, too, because all of a sudden I'm looking at them, what is that?"

I miss Lindsay, and we have, like negative chemistry. Innocent bystanders cringed when they saw us within five feet of each other.

"Come in," Arthur says brusquely in response to my knock -- the softest, reluctantest, unknockiest knock in the history of that long, complicated relationship betwixt doors and knuckles.

Well, I could quote this book all day. If you like humor and romance at all you should read this book. I wish I could send it a zillion readers.