Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno

Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno

Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads  Website

24 dares. 3 weeks. Take the leap.

Lottie Reaves is not a risk taker. She plays it safe and avoids all the ways she might get hurt. But when her beloved aunt Helen dies of cancer, Lottie’s fears about life and death start spiraling out of control.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the bestselling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers. She knew how magical writing could be, and that words have the power to make you see things differently.

In her will, Aunt Helen leaves one writing project just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions that are supposed to get Lottie to take a leap and—for once in her life—really live. But when the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series, Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice—one that will force her to confront her greatest fears once and for all.

Everything All at Once was a contemporary that I was desperate to read–it popped up everywhere on my book social media, and there was no escaping it. I mean, I love books where there's a list of things to do after someone's gone, because it allows for self-discovery, as well as secrets to surface. Finally I decided to just go ahead and read it (skipping a lot of my TBR pile to do so as well!), and I'm glad that I enjoyed it. I liked The Half Life of Molly Pierce (read my review), and while this one is a bit more lighthearted in comparison to Leno's debut, it still carried similarly serious undertones.

It's always interesting seeing books within books. Our protagonist Lottie's aunt is a famous author, and before every chapter we see little snippets of the Alvin Hatter series along with multiple references to the series and its characters. It kind of makes me want some spin-off series that consists of Alvin Hatter books just to know what everyone refers to during the book! Also side note: for some reason whenever I think of Alvin I think of Alvin and the Chipmunks, so both Alvin and Margo were chipmunks in my head... (yeah I don't know what's wrong with me either).

What I liked that this book explored was mental illness. I obviously don't know what some people go through on a daily basis, so books like this one are so important to that understanding. Lottie's anxieties about life and death after the death of her aunt get much worse, so delving into something this close and personal was a pretty eye-opening experience. I really enjoyed her character too–she felt fresh and real, well-rounded and fleshed-out. The other characters were also a delight: her parents, her brother, her friends...and then there's Sam.

Okay, so things are going to get a bit **SPOILERY**, so just a warning ahead of time. It's not a major spoiler I'm about to drop but it kind of hints to the big reveal so I would avoid reading this paragraph. You not looking? CAUSE I'M ABOUT TO DROP THIS NOW (highlight to read): I didn't enjoy the magical aspect of this book. I mean, it was set up so well for a contemporary, and then there comes magical realism to tie it all up, and while it could have worked if it was present from the start, I think putting it in pretty late in the game just didn't work for me.

Other than my feelings about a particular part of the book, Everything All at Once was a poignant and moving story about life, death, and everything in between. I thoroughly enjoy and devour Katrina Leno's stories, so this is one I would most definitely recommend, and I look forward to reading more.

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1 comment:

  1. This was one of my top reads this year. The family and friends Leno surrounded Lottie with were phenomenal, and Aunt Helen's letters just gutted me. I knocked half a star off my rating because of the ending. It was a little too unresolved for me, but not a huge disappointment.


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