Saturday, July 08, 2017

Everything All at Once

28926581Leno, Katrina. Everything All at Once
June 6th 2017 by HarperCollins Children's Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Lottie's aunt, a famous author of the Alvin Hatter fantasy series, dies of breast cancer at the age of 40, and the world is plunged into grief. Luckily, Lottie's parents and brother, Abe, are still alive, and the family spends a lot of time grieving together. In addition, Lottie is given a set of letters that her aunt wrote, giving her different tasks, since Lottie has always been anxious and afraid to do things. As she reads though the letters, she gets to know her aunt a little better and finds out a very important secret about her life involving a young protege, Sam, whom Lottie comes to like.
N.B. While Lottie is in high school, it's appropriate for middle school. It's also a fantasy.
Strengths: The writing was engaging, and I found myself liking the characters. It was a fun gimmick to have a J.K. Rowling type author as the aunt, and a great twist at the end. (Which turned this into a fantasy book.)This would be a good book for readers who adore Tuck Everlasting. This has some similarities to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and I felt like the aunt meant well with the letters.
Weaknesses: Too many details about being sad.
What I really think: The best way to move on after a loss is to stop obsessing about the person. Don't look at pictures, don't think about the person-- move on. I know. Lottie's entire family should have been in therapy a whole lot sooner. The wallowing in loss and obsessing about it seemed very unhealthy and counterproductive. Yeah, everyone grieves differently, but I'd like to see more functional grieving in middle grade books. It's not like people are going to stop dying.

Ms. Yingling

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