All Things New

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
2268 1
All Things New

From the author of PARALLEL and FREE TO FALL comes a novel about how it feels to be broken and what means to be real. Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she's gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven't worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa's efforts to convince the world that she's okay finally crumble--now she looks as shattered as she feels. Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident. That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world--a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Healthful and Hopeful
(Updated: June 15, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
An enthralling and vital YA read—boldly tackling issues of mental and relational health within a compelling narrative.

Jessa Gray has been broken on the inside ever since her parent’s divorce, when her father moved several states away and her mother quickly remarried. While her mother was busy with her new family, Jessa fell into a crippling anxiety disorder that cost her all social relationships—all except for the boyfriend crutch she thought she could lean on. When that crutch fails and she ends up in a horrific car accident, her brokenness suddenly extends to a newly scarred face and a brain injury that induces something called aphantasia(mind’s-eye blindness.) Along with something else… something she’s afraid might mean she’s crazy.
So when her father offers to move her from California to Colorado for a fresh start, Jessa accepts—unable and unwilling to return to the life she’s lost.

I readily admit that first-person present-tense is among my least-favorite in terms of storytelling methods. And yet, I can't recall the last time a contemporary flew by so well for me. Almost 80 pages in, I felt like I’d just started. The content is weighty without feeling weighed down (which is quite the accomplishment.) And while Jessa’s looping introspection and avoidance is often frustrating, it’s also believable. I wouldn't call it fast-paced, so much as fluid and effortless reading.

”It registers that I am sitting there topless, but this body I am in doesn't feel like mine anymore so the half-nakedness seems irrelevant, like a rumor, something I'm supposed to care about but don't.”

I hadn't heard of aphantasia before this book. Which was surprising, given my medical background. It was also a welcome learning opportunity. Aphantasia was first written about over a hundred years ago, and apparently exists in 2% of the population—meaning 1 in 50 people may experience it, temporarily or permanently. (Many don't even realize they have it, if they acquired in congenitally.) This reader found it both fascinating and kind of horrible; the idea of being able to recognize people and things in front of you, but not being able to picture them--or picture anything at all--when you close your eyes.

Marshall was my favorite part of this story.
Flying in the chiseled face of every brooding alpha-male bad-boy stereotype, Marshall is a charmingly upbeat and extroverted love interest. He’s funny, sharp-witted, keenly observant, and prefers sitting at the autism-spectrum table to mingling with his more mundane peers. He’s also a somewhat concerning heart patient, who has perhaps allowed physical limitations too much license in his identity. I adored him—and his reliable banter with all those around him.

"I nod seriously, "Supes."
"You're mocking me."
"A little bit."
"People say supes!"
"What people?"
"I can't believe you're shaming me right now. I'm very sensitive about my use of cool vernacular."
"Then we're good. Because you haven't used any." I flash a grin.

If I have one complaint about this book, it’s that there isn’t enough Marshall. He isn’t introduced until page 85. Not that it’s a slog to get to that point, but once he joins the cast, he effectively steals the spotlight in every scene he’s in. While this particular story is clearly about Jessa, it’s a pity we couldn’t have a bit of Marshall’s perspective as well. (A little more focus on the romance would have likely sufficed for me.)

Content Note: The book contains some mild language some may find objectionable, and there are some naturally-developing spirituality threads that may be off-putting for those with low-to-no tolerance for the realistic portrayal of characters with spiritual lives. (I personally found it all gradual, organic, and well-incorporated—inclusive, yet mercifully devoid of preachiness.)

All Things New encompasses themes of heartbreak, empathy, invisible illnesses, familial forgiveness, positive and negative coping mechanisms, neuro-atypical understanding, and above all, hope. I can honestly say I look forward to getting it into the hands of my goddaughters.

Favorite Quotes:

“Brokenness is just like beauty; it's something we wear and carry, and if we let it define us, it will. But we are not our beauty or our brokenness, because souls are not made of beauty or brokenness. Souls are made of something permanent.
Souls are made of truth.”

"Someday those bruises inside you will heal. You can't know when someday will come, or what life will look like when it finally does. ... But in a way it doesn't even matter because someday isn't what we have. What we have is right now, this moment, when things aren't okay yet, but in a way they are already, because in the end they will be, and as long as that's true, it's enough."
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the last days of the twenty-first century, sea creatures...
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers...
Bernard Pepperlin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The drowsy Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland...
Vicarious
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the...
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff...
The Unexpected Everything
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in...
What I Like About You
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can a love triangle have only two people in it?...
The Kinder Poison
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the magical kingdom of Orkena, Zahru has long dreamed...
Scared Little Rabbits
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
We stand in a tight cluster, high above the lake....
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he...
The Library of Lost Things
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the moment she first learned to read, literary...
The Athena Protocol
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bourne Identity meets Karen McManus in this action-packed series...
The Reader
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker...
Igloo-High-cover.jpg
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Senior year was supposed to be fabulous for popular...
The Burning Shadow (Origin Series, #2)
 
4.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was...

Latest Member Reviews

The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is a compelling and atmospheric YA fantasy/science fiction. In the future, the..."
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
"If you adored FROZEN, you need to get your hands on this Twisted Tale which reimagines the story if Anna..."
 
4.0
"THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS is the latest from DIVERGENT author, Veronica Roth. The novel is comprised of six YA..."
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
"THE BOOKWORM CRUSH is an absolutely charming romantic comedy with all sorts of booklover homages. Amy McIntyre is @redheadrecs and..."
Scared Little Rabbits
 
3.0
"SCARED LITTLE RABBITS follows Nora (aka Eleanor, Lowercase) as she sets out on a summer camp adventure that resulted in..."
A Constellation of Roses
 
5.0
"A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES is a beautiful story of familial love and healing. Trix has been trying to make her..."
Frankly in Love
 
5.0
"FRANKLY IN LOVE is a surprisingly deep and heartfelt read. Although it is described as a rom-com, this is not..."
American Royals
 
4.7
"What if at the end of America’s Revolutionary War, George Washington was offered a crown and what if he said..."
Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance
 
4.0
"This is the type of book I’d like to see included in school curriculums. The stories are like wide open..."
When the Stars Lead to You
 
4.7
"WHEN THE STARS LED TO YOU is quite the emotional YA contemporary. While on the surface it seems like a..."
We Are the Perfect Girl
 
3.3
"'We Are the Perfect Girl' by Ariel Kaplan is a Cyrano De Bergerac style story. There are a host of..."
Stranger Things: Runaway Max
 
4.7
"'Stranger Things: Runaway Max' by Brenna Yovanoff provides an intriguing look into Max's life before and during her time in..."
Crown of Oblivion
 
5.0
"Engrossing and completely thrilling, CROWN OF OBLIVION is a fantastic new YA fantasy that I highly recommend. Dealing with themes..."
 
4.7
"Four very different high school girls plan to spend one month together in GIRLS OF JULY, and they each have..."
 
3.0
"BETWEEN WORLDS: FOLKTALES OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND is a collection of short stories that have been passed down over centuries..."
Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed
 
5.0
"The story: Sheltered high school junior Andrea Cavanaugh believes she hits the jackpot when Josh McMillan, a..."
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
"ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an intensely challenging and thought-provoking read with some magical realism elements...."
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
"RULES FOR VANISHING is a deliciously haunting YA horror perfect for Halloween. Told through collected documents, interviews, and texts, this..."
What Makes Us
 
5.0
"WHAT MAKES US is an intriguing story that follows a teenaged boy, his mother (in the past), and his friend..."
Serpent & Dove
 
5.0
"Lou is on the run from her family and she lives a thieving life with her friend Coco. Both of..."