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REVIEW: “Know Not Why” by Hannah Johnson


Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft’s Arts ‘N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what’s more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and … stuff? (Okay, so maybe it’d be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts ‘n crafts store.) But things don’t go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. Coworker #2 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?


Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.

Pun intended.



If not for Howie, this might have been the best book ever. Howie is one of the MCs, therefore: Howie sabotaged himself when it comes to my feelings about Know Not Why.

Damn you, Howie.

Howie is deeply, deeply closeted. So closeted he hasn’t yet figured out he’s gay. Everyone around him seems to know already, but I guess they think actually talking with Howie might just cause him (or them) to go straight off the rails? To make matters worse, Howie might have self-esteem issues. He’s still living at home with his widowed mom while his twin brother is off being a star at college…and life.

Howie thinks working at an arts and crafts store will help him lure the ladies. Howie doesn’t realize, I guess, that dudes working in craft stores might seem, well, gay.  (Plus, psst, Howie? Trust me on this because I’m a craft store lover. Only old ladies and married chicks go to craft stores.)

Things work out, though, because what Howie ends up finding amidst the yarn–besides his newly realized homosexuality–is some seriously great friends to educate him about finding the joy in life. I LOVED that.

Arthur, Howie’s eventual (tick, tock) love interest, was positively perfect. Arthur has just ended a two-year relationship and is trying to get back on his feet as a singleton. His awareness and wit and patience made the story for me, and I’d have really enjoyed getting to know him better.

For me Know Not Why was a lovely story about finding and loving and accepting yourself. The writing totally rocked. It was funny and real and engaging and…funny. The supporting cast of friends (and bless, Howie’s family) were divine.

What I didn’t love was Howie’s repetitive, self-centered, occasionally mean-spirited inner dialogue. Howie could go on and on and on (and on) about his feelings about any given thing, usually in the negative, and once the laughs wore off, it ultimately wore me out.

Know Not Why is decidedly YA, but there were quite a few references to and discussion of things that were mature in nature, so it was extremely disappointing that the sexy time (when it FINALLY happened) was fade-to-black. These are 20-somethings for crying out loud!


If I could get a do-over from the author, or maybe just an epilogue, I’d want to know more about Howie and Arthur’s beginning, and maybe a skosh less about Howie’s struggle with discovering/accepting his sexuality.




Ami: 4 stars
Sheri: 3 stars



Title: Know Not Why
Author: Hannah Johnson
Publisher: Self pub
Pages: 317
Release Date: April 23, 2012
Purchase Links: SmashwordsAmazon



2 comments on “REVIEW: “Know Not Why” by Hannah Johnson

  1. Kaje Harper
    September 3, 2014

    This is a feel-good favorite reread for me, funny and cute and almost but not quite OTT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenni
      September 3, 2014

      I know just what you mean. :) Johnson is a talented writer, for sure! And Howie. Bless. I think you either love that kid or he drives you batty (and then maybe you like him just a little…). ;)


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This entry was posted on September 3, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Jenni, YA / NA and tagged , , .

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