What We Knew
Ever since they were young, Tracy and Lisa have heard the myth about Banana Man, a scary predator who lurks in the woods and indecently exposes himself to little girls. They eventually accepted that he was nothing more than a myth, but everything changed one night after they visited the woods. Lisa can’t shake the feeling that they’re being watched, and she receives a disturbing present that could be from none other than Banana Man. The girls’ lives will never be the same.
WHAT WE KNEW by Barbara Stewart is a chilling novel that leaves readers asking questions throughout the whole story. Right from the start, I was both confused and engaged --- the author vaguely describes a murder that has taken place in the voice of a person in great distress. This really appealed to me because I like being thrown into the story at its climax rather than having to read through pages of exposition right at the beginning.
"The ending is what made this book for me. It felt like such a fantastic payoff and I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t start to well up a bit. "
WHAT WE KNEW follows Tracy, Lisa and their friends as they encounter this Banana Man. Later into the book, the story moves away from this man and delves deeper into the problems that some of these characters are facing. The characters --- especially Tracy and Lisa --- actually have quite a lot going on at home, like bad stepfathers or runaway siblings. It felt like a lot of loose information to remember, but everything ties together quite seamlessly in the end.
I loved that the characters in the book are unreliable. Many times, I doubted the credibility of what Lisa was saying or what Tracy was seeing because the story would sometimes make them sound paranoid. It made everything much more mysterious and the characters much more real to me.
I must say, the ending is what made this book for me. It felt like such a fantastic payoff and I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t start to well up a bit. It was dramatic, emotional, and tied off any loose ends or questions left swirling about in my mind. I highly recommend this book because it illustrates strong bonds of friendship and has very realistic, imperfect characters. If you like books that constantly tug on your heart, you will love this.
Reviewed by Lynn W., Teen Board Member on July 13, 2015