Thursday 3 September 2015

Review: All of the Above - James Dawson

It would be neater, wouldn't it, if this was a story about self-harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players, but it's a story about all of them.

Yeah, it's a mess.

And it's about to get messier . . .

When sixteen-year-old Toria moves to the faded seaside town of Brompton-on-Sea she doesn't expect to fall in love once - let alone twice. But life has a habit of pulling you in strange directions, and when it comes to matters of the heart, sometimes you just have to let go, be free, and let love choose you.

Visit James Dawson's website for more information

James Dawson has such a distinctive voice and he always manages to create such realistic teenage characters, something he proves once again in All of the Above. This is the kind of book I'd like to be able to send back through time and hand to my teenage self, it's a book about self discovery, a book that shows teenagers it's okay to make mistakes, that it's okay to not know who you are or what you want to be as long as you're true to yourself along the way.

This is a story about growing up, it's about friendships that last and ones that don't, it's about first loves and how they're not always forever loves but how that doesn't make them any less important at the time, it's about discovering your sexuality and how it doesn't matter who you're attracted to, more than anything it's a realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager. I'm sure most people will recognise themselves in Toria and her friends, you may not have shared all of the same experiences as her but you're bound to have gone through some of them.

All of the Above is a fantastic book, it tackles a lot of difficult and sensitive subjects and it does it in a way that is realistic without being preachy. It doesn't try to make you think or feel a certain way but it opens up possibilities that you might not have considered before. I really don't want to go into too much detail about what happens in the story because I think you'll enjoy it so much more if you go in without certain expectations but I think you'll fall in love with Toria and her little group of misfits just as much as I did. The characters are diverse and incredibly realistic and I could recognise traits from my childhood friends in most of them. James Dawson has created a story that will stick with you and characters that you'll remember for a long time to come, his writing gets stronger with every new book and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Source: Received from Hot Key in exchange for an honest review

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