FINAL GRADE: 93/A
YA Contemporary Romance
Review copy provided by author’s publicist
A summer of love, loss, and justice.
Things were complicated enough for Roar, even before her father decided to yank her out of the city and go organic. Suddenly, she’s a farm girl, albeit a reluctant one, selling figs at the farmers’ market and developing her photographs in a ramshackle shed. Caught between a troublemaking sidekick named Storm, a brooding, easy-on-the-eyes L.A. boy, and a father on a human rights crusade that challenges the fabric of the farm community, Roar is going to have to tackle it all—even with dirt under her fingernails and her hair pulled back with a rubber band meant for asparagus.
MY THOUGHTS: The blurb doesn’t really do this book justice. It’s so much more than just a story about a reluctant farm girl, although that’s part of it. ALL YOU GET IS ME is a beautifully constructed novel about love and justice and truth–all done without a preachy, the-moral-of-the-story-is tone.
I’m trying to think of a way to tell you about this book without giving anything away. I’ve already deleted a paragraph because so much happens in the first ten pages, and it’s so much better if you just experience it for yourself. Those events are the catalysts for the rest of the story.
And then there’s the love story of Forest and Roar (don’t be scared of her name–it’s short for Aurora. If you had a big ole name like “Aurora Borealis Audley”, you’d probably shorten it, too). Unlike many YA’s today, this love story develops slowly, building to a crescendo of deep love and friendship. No instantaneous love, no destined to be together because it’s fated or ordained. Just good, old fashioned falling-in-love over the summer.
Along with the love story are several subplots involving farm workers and question of what rights those who come across the border illegally to work those farms have, land development, and organic farming. These subplots don’t dominate or shout “I’m trying to prove a point here!”. Instead, they’re subtly woven throughout the story, enhancing it. It’s an interesting look into a world I’m completely unfamiliar with and rather eye-opening. (Actually, it piqued my curiosity about organic farming, composting and eating locally. Kind of wanted to move to Roar’s farm for a while to experience it all.)
The character development was wonderful. I love how Roar’s dad is so passionate about his beliefs. He risks a lot when he chooses to help someone who is considered “less” by many. And I love the relationship between Roar and her dad and how they rebuilt their family on that farm. Roar’s best friend Storm (who decided they needed to be friends because they were both forces of nature) is hilariously outrageous–the kind of crazy friend everyone should have for at least a little while. Storm’s rebellions are not particularly safe or good for her, and Roar tries to be a good friend to her. I really liked all the other minor characters, too. They were interesting and well-developed, each with their own quirks and personalities.
ALL YOU GET IS ME was a wonderful story. I rated it PG-15 because of the teen drinking and sex (there’s not that much, and it’s not like teens don’t know about it but, yanno, just trying to be responsible here!). During reading time on Friday, I book talked it to one of my students, who asked to read it when I was done. Yay! Love when that happens.
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