Rummanah Aasi
 With our economy in peril, many of us are readjusting and reevaluating our needs. Most of the time these changes are not easy and we miss living our lives in luxury. Other times these transitions help us distinguish what is really necessary and important. This idea is explored in Corrine Demas's timely middle grade novel called Everything I Was.

Description: After Irene’s father loses his high-paying job in the city, her family leaves their penthouse apartment and elegant life to spend the summer on Irene’s grandfather’s upstate New York farm, where she helps in her grandfather's plant nursery, makes new friends, and begins to learn what she really wants and needs.

Review: I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed reading Everything I Was. I was afraid that I was going to meet your stereotypical spoiled rich girl who is forced to "step down" when she lives with the poor folks in the country. Thankfully, Irene doesn't fall into this predicament and which made me really like her. Irene's life seems to be a slice of our daily lives in today's tough economic times. Her father, a vice president of a large company, lost his job as company is downsized. Irene is pulled out of her luxurious life in New York City and forced to almost start her life over from scratch. Of course she is at first appalled by the change, but slowly warms up to the country lifestyle of working in the nursery, riding her bike as she wishes and making new friends, which allows her to appreciate her new freedom that she might never have if she lived in the city. Irene's desire to have a close family and become a real family member is palpable and rings true.
  Demas's storytelling is solid and never too sweet. Her adult characters are multidimensional. Irene's once powerful father who supported his family financially struggles with depression. Her mother refuses to accept her reality and fights to retain her pride with purchasing expensive items to cover up her new social status. Irene's grandfather, one of my favorite characters in the book, advises his granddaughter yet allows her to make her own decisions.
  Irene's new found friends are also delightful and very down-to-earth. Their family lifestyle is a great comparison of a working family that supports and loves one another. It's no surprise how Irene is so taken with them. In addition to Irene's self discovery, there is a also a sweet and budding romance. Everything I Was is a delightful coming of age story that offers hope to those in harsh financial times and reminds us that money isn't everything.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a handful of profanity in the book. Recommended to Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    everything I was, was well everything i wanted in a book it had a sence of romance but it was enough to relate to not outragious like some authors like to put in the books they write. the best part was how you could relate to the book.

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