Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson ☆

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“In the back of my head, in some distant unaffected place, I wonder why it is that I like looking at this guy so much. The simple act of directing your eyes at somebody else shouldn’t be all-consuming, should it? That seems weird. Impractical.”

Title: Know Not Why
Author: Hannah Johnson
Why you should read this book: Because it is one of the funniest and sweetest book I have read in a while.

Summary from Goodreads:

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?
… Right?
Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.
Pun intended.

“You know, I don’t think it’s worth it to deny yourself happiness just so you can stay faithful to the person you think you’ve become.”

I couldn’t put it down, I loved this book so much, I want to recommend it to the world but then I get a little territorial and I want to keep it to myself forever. Leave me alone with my feelings, ok?

This is not mainly a romance lgbtq m/m book. This book is about self-realization, about how to come to terms with what you are, with understanding what makes you happy and go forward head high. I love that there’s a little bit of everything, not much drama, not much tears, pure love, joy and happiness. You know what I also loved about this book? That the characters weren’t too young. Arthur is 26 years old while Howie is 22. Arthur is closer to my age and that makes me a little happy.

“Oh, Artie. You’re handkerchiefing me?”
“It’s a Kleenex,” he protests.
“Still.” I grin at him. “You classy gent.”

Howie is the main character of this book, he is 22 years old, goes to community college, english major, lives at home with her mother, has a twin brother who is much more everything than he is. He has 2 best friends and a mission to get laid soon. What can he do to get that result? He decided to get a job at a local arts and crafts shop where he is sure cute girls work. He has no idea what is really going to happen once he starts working there, it will be an enlightening experience that will change his life forever, for the best. Oh boy, if you knew, if you knew!

“Please, boytoy mine. I live large. And fast. Always.”

Howie is seriously hilarious, he invents and uses complex words, his inner monologues about random stuff are the best, he is constantly making me laugh like there’s no tomorrow. He starts working in the arts and crafts shop only to get a girl. He has no idea who he is going to get: our dear, fabulous, smirk-enthusiast Arthur Kraft Jr., the boss and a few years older than Howie. Something that I don’t want to reveal happens and Howie is confused. He has never had luck with girls, he thought there was something wrong with him but now he is thinking that maybe he has always being in denial about his sexuality and now he wants to find out what he feels.

“He gives me a slight smile. I simultaneously want to, like, build shrines to it and punch it off his face. It’s complicated.”

I loved that the road for this discovery isn’t “traumatic”, he understands there is nothing to do about how he feels about Arthur, he likes him a lot so they start dating without further ado. Their story is often on the background because that’s not what the story is about but their relationship is adorable, simple and I’m sure it will go on and on forever, happily ever after. Howie has to deal with telling the people he knows about this epiphany about himself. He doesn’t want to ruin what he has with his friends, his mother and his brother even if he lives elsewhere and they barely talk.

This is what he thinks about Arthur after he told him he was having corndogs for breakfast:
But I’ve got a crazy old bastard trying to force-feed me citrus in the name of my own health, and that? That’s not something I’d trade.

From reading the book I know for sure that his friends, Amber and Mitch, are going to be ok with it but he is just not ready to face them with this news. He wants to have two lives, the one he already have with his friends and mom believing he’s straight and horny about girls, and the other life in the shop with his new friends Kristy and Cora and his handsome boyfriend Arthur. He will lie a lot, those lies will be revealed, tears will be shed, hugs will be given, punch will be thrown, but things will untangle smoothly and that’s exactly what I wanted in a story. Pure happiness, little to no drama!

“You look like you’re about to start playing the world’s saddest song on its tiniest little violin,” Arthur informs me. “And then hug a kitten, and paint a rainbow, and watch Titanic whilst weeping profusely.”

Arthur is the best, I loved him from the very beginning, so composed and a little bit of a nerd. He and Howie are opposites and that makes them special together. Howie drinks coffee with 5 bags of sugar, Arthur drinks only tea, Howie listens to popular music, Arthur listens only to classical music and plays the piano, Howie eats unhealthy fast food, Arthur cooks his own healthy meals. Arthur is very patient and that’s what Howie needed during this period of realization. Those two are meant for each other.

“It’s an upholstered footstool–”
“A footstool? You paid five hundred bucks for a stool…for feet?”
“It was a very good deal. It’s antique–”
“You really are gay, aren’t you?”
“Really? This is what confirms it? Not all the sex that I could have sworn you were present for, but a piece of furniture–”

This is Arthur at McDonald’s for the very first and probable the last time and if you don’t think this is adorable then you are wrong and you can get out:
Arthur stares at the menu the way a time-traveling seventeenth century Puritan would watch a Lady Gaga music video. *I love you, Arthur*

Howie teasing Arthur gives me life and it’s honestly one of the best things about this book. I won’t deny nor confirm that will read this again sooner than later.

“You didn’t like Mamma Mia?” I ask, feeling like I just got kicked.
“I’m not even really sure what it is,” Arthur replies, frowning thoughtfully.
Useless bastard.

Do I recommend it? Yes, yes and yes.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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