Saturday, February 12, 2011

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

Thanks to netGalley for the early look at this book.

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

2/5 stars


Irene is 13 years old and her life is suddenly thrown into radical change. Her father loses his high paying job to downsizing and her mother has spent all of their money. They leave their penthouse apartment in New York to move in with her Grandpa in the country. Irene’s mother is miserable while her father is trying to make the best of things. Irene misses her friends but accepts the changes. She loves the flower farm her Grandpa lives on and loves to work with him in the greenhouse. She meets new friends and develops a crush on Jim. But when it comes time to move back to the city, she isn’t sure she wants to go.

My thoughts:

This is clearly a pre-teen book. I was captured by the cover, which is intriguing, and the cover summary didn’t make it clear that this was about a 13 year old. I was disappointed that it seemed to be about a high school student until you were 3 or 4 chapters in. I am a middle school teacher and I teach 13 and 14 year olds. Irene is like no 13 year old I have ever met. She lets life happen to her without a lot of comment. Her parents decide things for her, which she doesn’t like, but she doesn’t say anything about it. I find this incredible. Every student I have ever had is very vocal about things that affect them personally. I have seen them with their parents and with their friends. If they don’t like it, you know it. Irene wasn’t like that. Her whole personality seemed hollow. A lot of the characters in this book had hollow personalities. I thought the Fox family was very hollow, even the love interest Jim. Irene’s Grandpa was very genuine and I liked him. Her parents were real, even though I really didn’t understand why they were together.

The plot was lacking. The conflict in the story was minimal with an obvious solution, which is how the book ended. There were so many great scenes that could have been but weren’t there. There was one time that there could have been a great conversation between Irene and Jim but we just heard about it after the fact. I was very disappointed by that. It happened a lot. Many chapters ended at a key point only to have the next chapter be the next day or even later with little or no understanding about how the last one ended. It’s too bad because they could have been great scenes.

The ending was weird. It was all of a sudden there. A couple of months of time summarized after the resolution of the book. Again too many scenes were left out that could have made this book much better. Certainly, preteens will enjoy this book but it’s not for readers over the age of 13.

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