Book Review: All That Was

Title: All That Was
Author: Karen Rivers
Genre: Young Adult-Contemporary-Fiction
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Pages: 384
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)


“There is maybe a fungus that has woven me to Piper. Piper is the fungus, invading my roots. It’s more parasitic than that.”

“I’m either holding my breath or not, I can’t tell, and I’m with her and I’m underwater and we’re drowning, we keep seeing sky and knowing we can’t reach it, is that you Piper, I say or think or dream. It’s us, it’s us. We are. We aren’t.”

This book is written in first person narrative from the main character Sloane’s point of view. Sloane enjoys memorizing random facts (usually about animals) and her inner dialogue is often peppered with random animal trivia, not always related to what she was thinking about beforehand. Her train of thought also tends to wander. In the middle of remembering an event that happened before the book’s timeline started, she’ll suddenly start thinking about some other event that happened or describing her relationship with one of her friends. Worst of all (at least as far as my own personal pet peeves go), the author’s writing style uses a lot of overly descriptive metaphors and run on sentences. Because of the combination of all of these things, I found this book relatively hard to follow and even outright confusing at times.

“But even while Piper was yelling, we were swaying without meaning to, without wanting to; our bodies were touching in a way that felt like we weren’t in control of them, our hands entangled, our bodies reaching for each other, her face collapsing.

Why does it matter so much?

It was only a kiss.

Whales are washing up dead on beaches everywhere, their corpses rotten and bloated. Sometimes they explode. It doesn’t seem like anyone cares.

If the elephants start dropping dead, maybe then the world will notice. Everyone likes elephants, right? Elephant zombies would really be something, their decomposing flesh dropping off in leathery sheets. They wouldn’t be ignored.”

However, despite not liking the author’s writing style, I actually really enjoyed the story itself. I also appreciated the underlying message – No means no, even if it starts as a yes. That’s very relevant in today’s political/social climate and an important lesson to learn as teenagers and young adults (the target demographic for this book). For that reason, I’m giving this book a 3.5/5 score.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.


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