All the Things You Are Review

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Title: All the Things You Are
Author: Courtney Sheinmel
Publisher: S&S Children's
Published: June 14, 2011
Genre: YA/MG, Contemps
Pages: 256
Source: S&S Galley Grab

Carly Wheeler lives a charmed life. Her mother is a stylist for the soap opera Lovelock Falls, she lives in a nice house, and goes to an excellent private school. But when her mom is arrested and charged with embezzlement, everything starts to unravel.

There are shocking stories about her mother's crimes in the local newspaper. Carly's friends start avoiding her. And her stepfather starts worrying about money. How can Carly put her life back together when it feels like she's missing all the pieces?
Carly's grown up with it all. She's never wanted for anything, and she's the envy of all the girls at her private school, but when she hears a whisper one day about her mother, she had no idea it was all about to fall apart. When the whisper becomes a raging torrent of press, anger and confusion, Carly isn't sure where her place is anymore. Her friends don't want her, her mother's actions confuse her, and she just wants everything to go back to normal. Can she grow up and adapt, or will Carly succumb to the confusion?

I don't read a lot of MG, and All the Things You Are was marketed as YA, but I feel I should point out that Carly is more of a tween than a teen. That said, I think it works in both age groups. Now that that's out of the way, this was my first read from author Courtney Sheinmel, and I was intrigued to see her take on contemporary fiction. She has a wonderful writing voice. The story flows well, and it is extremely realistic. Opting for a simplistic and minimalist approach to Carly's voice, the author lends a sense of heartbreak and reality that is uncluttered, unpolluted and completely pure. All the Things You Are is a story of both heartbreak and growing up, giving the reader the best of both worlds.

I will say, however, that I'm not sure All the Things You Are is the most original story when remarking on the plot, alone. The overall premise of riches to rags has been done time and again, and when you read a book that strikes you in that realm, other reads tend to pale in comparison. In my case, I found myself comparing this a lot Dark Song by Gail Giles - a read that completely blew me away. It is important for me to mention though that All the Things You Are takes a decidedly more delicate approach to Carly's story. Rather than angst, we have sorrow, and rather than defiance, we have a young girl that is trying to cope with her new life in the best way she knows how. Carly grows up in All the Things We Are, restoring the heart and soul of the story without being overly cliche or hitting you over the head with sweetness which, in the end, makes up for what I thought was a less-than-original plot. Plus, the author's execution, including the writing voice, tangibility of the characters and overall theme made for a powerful read.

All in all, I think All the Things You Are is a strong addition to the contemporary market today, and I'm definitely a fan of the author's writing style now. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of both YA and MG, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.

I received this eARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Though I did not love Dark Song, I did like it;Since All the Things You Are reminded you of Dark Song, I must read this one too. Great review!

  2. I got this one too! Your review makes me want to read it now!!

  3. I loved Courtney's novel, POSITIVELY, which also had that "this feels like MG but it's labeled YA" thing going on. haha. Looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for the great review. :D

  4. I should definitely pick this up at the library!

    I have an award for you, but I just noticed that you don't accept awards anymore. I just thought I'd acknowledge you any way.

    You can find it here if you're curious:

    Have a good weekend and stay cool!


  5. I'm not sure this one would be for me. I kinda like the premise but I'm very much a fan of older YA books, so the protag might just be a little young for my reading tastes.

  6. I like the sound of this book, but nowadays I like YA books and adult books. :) Not a big fan of MG books anymore. ;)

  7. This sounds like a good book for my little sister (she's just starting to read YA). Thanks so much for the review!

  8. I like the occasional MG book and this one does sound like it would also appeal to my YA self. Plus, I have a younger cousin that I could give the book to if I find it a little too young. I haven't heard of Sheinmel so thanks for introducing me to a new author, Melissa :)

  9. Nice but I think not exactly my cup of tea. Thanks for the review, though!

  10. So I resent the email, but it looks kind of wonky on my side...almost like I just sent the words "I'm resending it" and then a blank message. So if you still don't get it I'll start fresh.

    ps. great review!

  11. Ok so perhaps I would not read the book, but I enjoyed your review (and I am sure I would have read it when younger)

  12. I quite like MG so I might enjoy this one despite the fact that it is a contemporary novel. I love the way you describe Carly's voice!

  13. I don't think this one sounds like my type of story, but a very great review Melissa! I might get this one as a gift for a girl I used to babysit - it sounds like her kind of story :)

  14. Oh this is surprising. I didn't think you might like this one that much. Hm... I think I must check it out! Thanks!

  15. Great review! I love seeing you get happy over contemporary fiction! :) Warms my heart! I'll definitely have to take a look at this one!


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