Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Everything I Was

Everything I Was
Corinne Demas
2011; Carolrhoda Lab; ISBN 978-0-7613-7303-2 (hardcover)

Summary:  When her father loses his job, Irene's life changes greatly.  Her mother, who sees luxuries as necessities, doesn't understand those changes.  It puts Irene in a difficult position, for she likes the new life they've started.  She likes living at her grandfather's place in the country, helping him in his nursery.  She's even found a new friend.  But Irene's mother isn't happy, and she finds a way for them to return to the city.  This leads Irene to a decision: should she go with her parents or choose the life she wants?

A young girl struggles to control her life in this insightful novel.  Irene's coming of age is set against the backdrop of the contemporary financial hardships, adding additional pressure upon Irene's maturation.  This process is handled deftly, showing the slow steps and occasional errors made as each of us grows up.  Characters like Irene's grandfather and Irene's new friends Jim and Megan are well-drawn and sympathetic, as is Irene.  Pair Everything I Was with The Not-So-Great Depression by Amy Goldman Koss for a pair of novels about financial hardships leading to growth.

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