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What We Knew

2.89  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  51 reviews
When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

"When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes..."

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy a
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Average rating 2.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  125 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
This really didn't work for me and I am honestly half blaming the synopsis. I've found lately that with several books the synopsis given does not in fact match the book at all. This is the case with What We Knew. The synopsis in my opinion promises creepy stalker craziness and what this book delivers is actually troubled teenagers who have been abused. Sooo not the same thing at all and I really wonder who writes those synopsis'!

I'm not saying this would have worked more for me if the synopsis a
*Genre* Young Adult, Mytery
*Rating* 2.5-3

*My Thoughts*

What We Knew, by Barbara Stewart, is perhaps one of the more disturbing stories that I've read this year. Yet, it wasn't because of the fabled "Banana Man" who is said to live in the woods, and takes little girls away from their parents to do nobody knows what with them. Instead, it is a story that delves deeply into the psyche of 16-year old Tracy Kolcun who is by far, the most aggravating lead character that I've read about, and perhaps one
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-2015
Loved the vibe and the way the teens felt like teens!!

Tracy and her best friend Lisa are enjoying a lazy summer hanging out with their boyfriends, partying, and just being normal teenagers. But one night while walking near the woods, one of the guys brings up something they hadn't thought of in years: The Banana Man. It was supposed to be a dumb urban legend, but when Trent shows them where this guy supposedly lives, it starts something. Suddenly Lisa becomes paranoid that he's watching her... w
May 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dissapointed, arcs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather A
I received a copy from Netgalley.

I'm really not sure what to make of this. For the most part, I liked it. However, I was really disappointed with the ending. The characters were pretty shallow but the writing was good, the narrative was absorbing and compelling with some beautiful wording. Good, though disturbing imagery.

The characters in this book were not particularly likable, at least not for me. As I mentioned, the story and the mystery aspect were good enough on their own that it didn't re
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
More like a 3.5 deals with heavy topics in a roundabout way which takes away from the emotional impact. Overall a good story.
J.T.  Yorke
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
The writing was excellent but the story didn't deliver on spooky banana man. I kept waiting for the paranormal stuff to go down but nope, this is a story about teen girl trauma. Skimmed after page 100 ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
The only reason I finished this book was because it was the last book on my reading challenge. The book was so hard to stay focused it flip flops around .younger people may like it ...better than me 👵🏽
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another case of where the blurb didn’t hit the mark with what the book was really about. The majority of it alludes to something a bit more terrifying, perhaps horror-filled, when that’s not really the case at all. At. All. WHAT WE KNEW is actually a contemporary issue book. The blurb goes a bit too much into what is really a minor, background part of the book. The real meat of the story is what’s going on with Tracy and Lisa. And even though the blurb largely got the book wrong, I ended ...more
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway and I couldn't be happier!

I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't put it down. It was thrilling and mysterious, keeping my attention from beginning to end. It starts with Tracy and Lisa hanging with a group of friends at the start of summer. They are wild and carefree, enjoying the freedom of summer nights. Then one friend brings up the story of a pervert who flashes kids and lives in the forest... someone called Banana Man. From there, the s
Kelly Hager
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This is an incredibly fun (and creepy) book. We don't really know what's going on for most of the book, and there's a lot of misdirection.

I liked Tracy and her best friend Lisa, but the guys in their life are varying degrees of annoying.

I can't say too much about this book, because there are a lot of questions essentially the whole way through. But suffice it to say that there are a lot of monsters in this book.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, mystery
I did not finish this book. I just could not get in to it. I did not like the main character, the supporting characters, or the way the story was going. The description of the book and what I read was completely different. Also, it bugged me that Katie who is supposed to be in 6th grade acted and was treated like she was 6 years old.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
What We Knew dives into the life of Tracy and her friend Lisa's teenage life, this book didn't do much for me. I feel like it was all over the place, and after a while it just started getting boring and aggravating to read. It focuses too much on teenage drama, and not enough on the actual story. This book had potential, but it lost me. ...more
Susan Walker
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
What happens when little girls think there is someone living in the woods. Then the little girls grow up and realize something is living in the woods. Scary but well written story.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
First off I didn't like the story at first, it felt like two different stories
and felt very confusing.
As I continued to read I began to understand what was happening in this story.
There are triggers in this story references to rape, drugs and divorce.
So the girls were afraid of a monster in the woods however, the monster
was in their real life everyday, in each of their lives or living with it.
These two girls Tracy (Trace) and Lisa had some real deep tragedies in both of their lives
that neither
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing, unexpected plot. Monsters are not what we think they are, something lurking in the woods - instead, they are within our own house, part of our family. Life horrors exceed fantasy. The author is great at making the reader understand that whatever you fear, you have to face it and confront it, that’s the best way towards healing the soul.
Karen Bullock
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4stars for this young adult novel of typical teenagers behaving the way we know most do. Uncanny how close the author was able to display their behavior! What starts out as an urban legend opens the doors to teen angst, out of control behavior, some much darker emotional journey along the way with Tracy & Lisa & a cast of lovable & hatable characters. Also, a super quick read.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
All the other 2 star reviews hit it on the head pretty well.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was ok not that great but ok.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I feel bad saying this, but this story just didn't work for me. It felt very disjointed and jumped all over the place. There were some great ideas, but...just felt a bit of a mess to me! ...more
Kayla Dyson
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The ending is upsetting but it makes a lot of things come together. I love ending shocks/surprises. This book kept me interested to turn the page each time.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a very good book! One I will chose to read again
Chapter by Chapter
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was curious about Barbara Stewart’s What We Knew based on the description of the novel alone. It sounded like a story that was all about a supernatural thriller. It sounded exciting and unexpected. I can say that, after having finished the novel, it definitely wasn’t what I expected.

In What We Knew our main character Tracy has grown up alongside her childhood best friend Lisa hearing stories of a monster living within the nearby forests. As children, the stories terrified the two of them. Now
Jennifer Gallman
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it

I love horror. My husband runs a horror movie review website (, and we go all out for Halloween. The adrenaline rush of fear is like no other. As I was finishing this book the other day, I kept hearing scratching noises in the attic. Not something you want to hear when reading a supernatural book. Turns out it was just a black beetle, but everything in this book is not so obvious, and that's why you have to read it!

Tracy and her best friend Lisa love to walk home late at night,
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was by far the lowest rated book I have found on Goodreads (under a 3) and have actually picked up. However, I am glad to say that it was not as terrible as everyone else made it out to be. Yes, it was confusing and yes, the writing was a little choppy but I thought that the premise was fine and the relationships of the characters weren’t terrible.

Let’s start with what I liked with this book – I liked the suspense of the book and how the author was slowly revealing the reality of what was g
Sandy Emerson
One comment when I was reading a review on this book struck a chord with me.  The reviewer wrote, “What is this book even about?”  I have to say that for about half of the book, I had to agree with her.

What was this book about?

There were so many elements during the first half of the book  I had a hard time from being distracted while I was reading it.  Just as I was getting into one element, it would change to another and then to another.   It got to the point where it just ended up being annoyi
Christina Culbertson
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Okay, so im an avid reader. I can read a book in less than 24 hours if i really like it. With that being said, this book took me almost 5 days to read. days. When i read the inside flap of this book in the lubrary, I thought to myself "Hm why not, seems pretty good". Well, it took me 5 days. That pretty much explains everything. I feel that this book was nothing like the inside flap. 90% of the book is about Tracy, Lisa, and their relationship. It was just two normal teenagers being best friends ...more
Haley Kaufmann
I've got major mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I was always pretty engaged in what was happening and the creep factor was there. It always felt like I was being led to something, but everything just felt muddled sometimes. Tracy's narrative was confusing: she would never state things outright and would only allude to them, even if they were major plot points. I think with what happened to her in the past felt thrown in for no reason and never was explained, despite how much of an in ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Based on the summary, I thought this was going to read like a Jennifer MacMahon novel. It didn't. The first third of this book, I either wasn't paying attention or literally couldn't figure out what was happening. Where am I? Who's this now? Wait a minute, is this a new character or have they been with us all along? The rest of the book had me riveted, which was great, but at the end I was left with too many questions to give this a full three. I guess some issues felt resolved, but others left ...more
Alysa H.
May 07, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, abandoned
I think the atmosphere of this book is supposed to be a bit creepy, but I found it only rather skanky. By definition, "dirty and unpleasant". This does not necessarily make for a bad book -- the excellent Holly Black often employs a similarly skanky atmosphere to great effect. But in the case of What We Knew, the characters and story do not engage me enough to be worth it. I think there are readers who will love this -- particularly younger readers who can relate to the oh-so-current teenage cha ...more
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This particular Barbara Stewart is the author of THE IN-BETWEEN and WHAT WE KNEW

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