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Posted April 11, 2011
Reviewed by Jagvlr for TeensReadToo
Irene is thrust into reality when her father loses his high-paying city job. The family has to sell their posh penthouse apartment, and temporarily move to the country with Irene's paternal grandfather. Irene doesn't know what to tell her friends, so she says nothing as the family packs and quietly slips out of the city at the end of the school year. Irene finds herself settling in at her grandfather's. She always enjoys visiting him and helping him in his greenhouse. But Irene can hear her parents fighting. Her mother hates being in the country, and travels back to the city trying to locate an acceptable new place to live. Irene's mother does not plan on staying long-term in the country. Irene does what she can to make the best of her situation. Her grandfather gives her a beat-up bike that she uses to explore the surrounding area. It is while she is on one of her excursions that she encounters a group of kids having a grand time in their front yard. When she stops to tie her shoe, a ball comes her way. With a simple question, "Hey, do you play soccer?", life in the small town becomes brighter for Irene. She meets the oldest brother, Jim, and his quiet sister, Meg. Irene and Meg share similar interests, and Irene soon starts hanging out with Jim, Meg, and their younger siblings. It isn't until Irene's mom announces she's found a townhouse for them to live in for the year that Irene must fight for what she wants for herself. Throughout everything that has happened in the last few months, she never once had a say in what she wanted to do. With her grandfather's help, Irene learns to stand up for herself and what she wants. EVERYTHING I WAS may be a short novel, but it's a powerful one. Irene struggles through changes at a time when being a kid is hard enough. The chapters are short, but each one conveys its point nicely. This is the first novel I've read by Ms. Demas. The cover jumped out at me first, but that being said, I have to say that the cover didn't seem to fit the story once I had finished it. But don't let that prevent you from reading EVERYTHING I WAS. The story was worth the read.
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Posted October 8, 2013
A family in crisis; a teen protagonist who¿s real, normal, hon
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A family in crisis; a teen protagonist who’s real, normal, honest and interesting; a real-world drama with genuine characters, powerful emotions, and the sweet touch of hope—what more could a reader ask for? Privileged Irene moves out of town to stay at her grandfather’s farm while Dad tries to find a job and Mom tries to hold onto her way of life. But what about Irene’s way of life? Will she end up as a scholarship girl, a fish out of water amongst her friends? Or will she carve a new life for herself as she slowly learns to make new friends and trust new strangers?
It’s easy to lay blame when crisis strikes a family, but events overtake Irene’s anger, and soon blame becomes irrelevant. You live the life you’ve been given, she learns, and the life she’s found has plenty to offer her. Soon the question’s not what will life throw at her next, but where will she make her stand.
Beautiful descriptions bring the scenery of Yellowstone and New York to life. Convincing dialog backs up all the characters and their many relationships. Young love and old love bloom. Suspicions aren’t fact. And communication is as difficult for adults as for teens.
Everything I Was follows Irene as she learns the new things she can be, and leads teen readers to recognize their complex lives aren’t really out of control, even when they fall apart. An honestly enjoyable, uplifting, fascinating tale of real-world people and real-world hope, this one's highly recommended.
Disclosure: The library was selling off some books and I liked the blurb on this one. I’m glad I bought it.
Posted August 28, 2012
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