Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everything I Was

4 out of 5

Irene is very much like a lot of kids I know, or know of, these days. Maybe her parents were a little more well-to-do than some kids I know but they were really just a middle class family with a job and living a very nice life, maybe too nice a life. When Irene’s father loses his job as a part of a corporate downsize, Everything she was, changes. And it changes rather quickly.

Corinne Demas has captured the delicate balance bubble that most kids seem to be living in today in her soon-to-be released YA novel, Everything I Was. They place a lot of face value on the materialistic side of life, the school they attend, what they wear, where they go on vacation, and many times they seem unaware of the important basic family values that are far more important and count for more when times get tough.

Irene’s world seems to have been turned upside down, as she is being uprooted from their beloved New York Manhattan apartment, her private all girls school, and are moving in with her grandfather outside of New York in a small town in the countryside. For kids in high school, any change can seem like the world is working against you and you alone, but this was beginning to feel like the end of the world to Irene.

This is the kind of book that I would recommend to not only my own high schoolers but also to middle schoolers who may be having great concerns as they get ready to make that transition to high school. One of the reasons I continue to read new YA fiction is to keep a perspective of how our young people approach new trials. Any time I able to place the right book in the right hands, and that book speaks to a child in a language they understand and relate to, it is a good thing.

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