Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kid Konnection: All You Get is Me

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you another new young adult book that I thought was very cute.

Summary: A summer of love, loss, and justice.

Things were complicated enough for Roar, even before her father decided to yank her out of the city and go organic. Suddenly, she’s a farm girl, albeit a reluctant one, selling figs at the farmers’ market and developing her photographs in a ramshackle shed. Caught between a troublemaking sidekick named Storm, a brooding, easy-on-the-eyes L.A. boy, and a father on a human rights crusade that challenges the fabric of the farm community, Roar is going to have to tackle it all—even with dirt under her fingernails and her hair pulled back with a rubber band meant for asparagus. -- Harper Teen

Lately, I've started reading more Young Adult books. It's not that I ever stopped liking them, but there are just so many good books out there and so little time. A few days ago, I decided that I need something light and quick to read so I picked up ALL YOU GET IS ME by Yvonne Prinz. (I had just finished THE HUMAN STAIN by Phillip Roth and my brain was extremely fuzzy.) I am so happy that I picked this sweet coming-of-age novel.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed ALL YOU GET IS ME. I hesitate to use the work "surprised" because I wasn't really expecting not to like it, but I found this novel to be a very pleasant read. I thought the main character Roar was just terrific. She was not only very likable and real, but I also think she's one that teen girls are going to be able to relate to. While her background is probably very different from most readers, she still encompasses all those things that I remember from being a teen -- dealing with peer pressure, boys, parents, etc. And perhaps why I liked Roar the most is that she was at that stage of her life where she was just trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted to be -- who doesn't remember feeling that way?

In addition to appreciating Roar, I also liked that ALL YOU GET IS ME covered some social issues. Roar had recently moved from San Francisco to the country because her father wanted to try his hand at farming. While her father's primary job was working the farm, he still held tightly to his roots as a defense lawyer for the less fortunate. So when an accident occurs between a wealthy woman and an immigrant worker, he rushes to the aid of the immigrant's family to help them fight for their rights. ALL YOU GET IS ME highlighted the tensions in the farm community as well as the plight of rural farmers. In addition, it showed the issues that many illegal immigrants face on a regular basis.

I do think ALL YOU GET IS ME would make a good book club book for teens or even moms and daughters. I couldn't find a discussion guide, but I don't think one is necessary -- there are so many things to discuss. Some of the topics you might want to explore include illegal immigrants, the United States immigration policy, civil rights, farmers, parent/child relationships, friendship love, justice, truth, honesty, and forgiveness. There is a website devoted to ALL YOU GET IS ME where you can read an excerpt or check out the soundtrack.

And this part of my review is for all of you moms (and dads) out there. I really enjoyed ALL YOU GET IS ME and, in so many ways, it would have been an ideal book to hand to my middle grade daughter. The story was sweet, Roar was a great character, and there were some good messages in this story. However, the book did have a few "adult" situations like underage drinking and teenage sex. I tend to be more conservative than many parents with what I like my daughter to read (I figure she has the rest of her life to read books like this.) Needless to say, I don't think I'll be passing on ALL YOU GET IS ME for a few more years.

ALL YOU GET IS ME is a very fun book and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a light read with some serious issues thrown in -- just the kind of book that I would have loved in my younger days!

Thanks to Megaphone PR for sending me a copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Ah, my older daughter is a Freshman ... she'd love to sneak off with a book that has some of these "off limits" themes :)

Thanks for the review, Julie ... glad you survived that Philip Roth, too!

bermudaonion said...

Those are the kinds of books kids need to read to reassure themselves that they're not all that different. All You Get is Me sounds like a winner!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What kind of name is Roar?!!!

Laura Fabiani said...

I'm glad you gear your review to parents because as a parent with a middle-grader I do scour book reviews (or read the book myself) before I hand it over to my daughter. Your book reviews are appreciated!

Aaron's said...

OOO This totally sounds like a Sam read! It's so dangerous to read your blog! ;)

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I really love the title of this :)