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EVERYTHING I WAS by Corinne Demas


by Corinne Demas

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-7303-2
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

After her father lost his high-paying job, 13-year-old Irene’s parents sold their expensive New York City apartment, withdrew her from her private school and moved in with her grandfather upstate. Her nurseryman grandfather’s calm demeanor and wise advice contrast sharply with her mother’s impatient superficiality, and Irene bonds with him immediately. As her father searches for a job, her mother fails to fully adjust, continuing her immature denial and not quite reining in her abundant spending. Irene, meanwhile, quickly gets over the worst of her disappointment after she meets a large family and makes friends with quiet Meg and her attractive, outgoing older brother, Jim. Their enthusiastic attitude toward life helps Irene accept her changed situation, effectively eliminating a lot of the tension that might have propelled the plot forward. Interesting imagery abounds: After inserting white plant tags into flats of perennials, Irene sadly reflects that “the table before me looked like a miniature graveyard.” Unimportant subplots—a hit-and-run accident and a trip to visit an older half sister—meander into the story without adding significant depth. Yet some characters are richly drawn, and Irene, a likable teen, shows a new maturity as her summer in the country winds down to a mildly surprising conclusion. Quietly soothing and pleasantly entertaining. (Fiction. 10-14)