Thursday, May 12, 2011

Review: Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

Everything I WasTitle: Everything I Was
Author: Corinne Demas
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 264
Published: Available now from Carolrhoda Books
ISBN: 9780761373032
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: "My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall." So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mother's spending—quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they're forced to move in with Irene's grandfather in the big family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of her life takes a surprising turn when she meets a most remarkable family.

I Give This ...

This wasn't what I was expecting.  The cover and description are misleading.  I was thinking an older lead character with the typical teenager drama.  Instead, I got a 13 year-old girl on the brink of that drama.
I instantly liked Irene.  For most of the book she's feels older than her age.  She's got her typical young teenage behavior.  She's worried about leaving her friends and the stigma she's afraid will come with people finding out they have no money.  She's nervous about spending a summer in the middle of nowhere instead of glamorous New York City.  She's basically had her life turned upside down with little forewarning.  Her dad seems a bit of a pushover, giving in to her mother's every whim.  But ties very hard to keep the family together and goes the extra mile to put there life on track.  I disliked her mother the most in the story.  She's seems like such a snob.  Even in the end, I felt like she didn't care for anything but the families image.  I was willing to bet she made Irene's father take that apartment!

Throughout the summer Irene realizes that friendship comes in different forms and having money doesn't matter to everyone.  She realizes the mistake her parents made along the way.  She does act irrationally at times, but nothing that felt out of character both for her and a typical teenager.  I think she found a place that felt more comfortable than a stuffy apartment and private school in the city.  A place were she could be who she truly was without judgement.  

In the end, I liked the book quite a bit.  It was just a little bit younger than what I normally read.  I think younger teens will really like it, especially those who have to move, etc during an already hard enough period in their lives.

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