Review: What I Know by Miranda Smith

what I knowMy brother was thirteen the first time he tried to kill me.

These days, Della is a loving wife, a dedicated teacher, a woman trying to do her best. She has put her past far behind her. But she hasn’t forgotten the lessons she learned.

It’s just a regular morning when Della welcomes Zoey to her English class. She treats her like any other new student: assigns her a desk, hands out the work. But then she meets Zoey’s cold, calculating eyes and freezes as terrifying memories threaten to overwhelm her.

Della knows what evil looks like when it hides behind a confident smile. Her own brother, the town’s darling, couldn’t keep his true nature hidden forever. Della has been watching out for people like him ever since, determined to stop them before it’s too late.

When a student is viciously attacked and Della is sent a detailed account of the crime, she’s more convinced than ever that Zoey has darkness inside her.

But to make people believe her, she needs proof. Will she risk everything to get it? And without it, can she be sure she’s right?

Review

Narrated through two timelines, What I know by Miranda Smith, is a dark, psychological thriller that brings up thoughts about nature vs nurture. Are people born evil or is evil an acquired trait? Della is hiding a dark secret about her elder brother, Brian. However, her secrets soon come to the surface when she encounters a student who reminds her of Brian. Della could see the darkness n her brother way before anyone else could. Similarly, she seems to be the only one who can see Zoey for who she really is.

I was drawn to the past timeline about Della and Brian growing up. Although, it was easy to guess the secrets about Brian, I was still intrigued by events that took place and couldn’t stop reading until the final reveal. I struggled with the present timeline due to various issues. First of all, Della was bordering obsessive about her student and crossed so many logical and professional boundaries in her search for the truth. Although maybe justified, I found some of her actions cringe-worthy.  I also didn’t like her friends and couldn’t really understand some of their ‘telling’ actions.  In addition, I went into the story expecting some twists or jaw-dropping reveals but I didn’t get any of these.

In the end, I loved the writing and couldn’t stop reading to the last page. I wish the mystery was a bit stronger and I would have loved to have a character that I could root for.  However, I am once again in the minority with this one. Most readers seem to have enjoyed it way more than I did. If you are a fan of this genre, definitely do check it out. You probably will have a much better experience than I did.

13 thoughts on “Review: What I Know by Miranda Smith

  1. Nice, honest review Diana. The premise sounds like a good one, but when behaviour crosses the line to questionable, and the characters are unlikable, it is hard to connect. I am glad there were some things you enjoyed about it. I hope you next read is a better one for you.

    1. Thank you Carla. I think the teacher-student relationships are quite sensitive so I hard such a hard time trying to wrap my mind around some of the things the teacher did despite her motivation.

  2. I’m glad you could enjoy this one despite that present timeline bogging you down a bit. I find that happens for me sometimes, too. I end up liking one time frame more than the other. Great review!

    1. I’m like that with most dual timelines. In most cases, I tend to prefer the past timelines but in this case, I only liked one timeline so the story didn’t work out well for me.

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