Publisher: Hot Key Book
Published: 1st September 2016
Pages: 326 Pages
This is a funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by Queen of Teen 2014. When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circle.
Every time I read a book by Juno, I always seem to squeal/cheer/smile at how accurate she portrays teenage life. I know I was a teenager many years ago, but I feel like I’d have dealt with life easier if books like this existed for me to read. We all know growing up, especially as a teenager, is hard and any form of solace or reassurance definitely helps you deal with things easier.
All of the Above is a modern take on high school life, that focuses on the friendship group of about 5/6 teenagers, each has their own personalities and traits, which makes the story. Overall, it encompasses all the things you’d expect to happen in a teenager’s life; sexuality, puberty, romantic relationships/relationships with your family, and even, a little about race, equality and sadly, in this case, death.
Toria is naturally the main focus of the novel, with her new friends taking center stages at different points in the book. Polly seems to take control of the group and is independent, ballsy and a little, brass. I liked Polly and I felt like she was more vulnerable than confident and put on a front to support her crude ways. The other group members also had problems of their own (don’t all teenagers) and I felt it suited the story well. They weren’t over dramatized and were actually real problems teenager’s face and probably need help with. I guess when you’re a teenager, you think your problems are ‘silly’ (well, I’m sure the adults do), but I’m a firm believer in ‘if it hurts you and makes you sad, then it’s not silly, regardless of how small it is.
Given that the genre is Young Adult there were high levels of maturity and definitely a fine example of teenagers using their brains to be passionate about something. Toria and the gang set up a campaign to save a crazy golf theme park, it’s run down and needs closing, but it’s theirs and has provided so many memories for them. It did get them into a few problems, but it’s fun, right?