Wednesday, 2 March 2016

All of the Above

All of the Above by Juno Dawson


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 and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles. {Goodreads Summary}

I'm going to start by saying that this book wasn't at all what I expected. From the title and the quote on the back, I was convinced this was going to be told Virginia Woolf 'The Waves' style with multiple protagonists. I got over my initial disappointment that this wasn't the case pretty quickly (I still have no idea what happened in The Waves; I never had a clue who's POV it was). All of the Above had me gripped from the beginning. I loved the style it was written in, the characters, the plot, the unexpectedness. This novel made me laugh and (very nearly) cry. 

"Only Orange smarties don't taste the same. So she picks them all out and gives them to me."

Toria was a fun character. Her desire to fit in at the beginning of the novel was really easy to relate to, and I loved her rules for making friends. I also loved her friends, especially Daisy *sobs quietly in the corner*. I wish Alex, Alice and Freya had been more developed. I would especially love to know more about Freya's backstory, particularly the story behind her outburst at towards the end. Basically, short stories from all the characters in this novel would be greatly appreciated; I'm not ready to let go of Toria and her gang yet! 

"Daisy. I didn't want her to become a cloud when she'd always been sunshine."

All of the Above is a story about growing up and self discovery. But above all, it's about love. It has a really uplifting message for teens who are struggling to fit in or are questioning their feelings. It touches on some difficult topics, like anorexia and self-harm, which would usually be the focus of their own book, but are shown here in the context of everyday life. Mental illness is all around us and All of the Above showed that really well.

"The room was empty now.The world was empty. It was just Polly and I dancing, a little island in a great big ocean."

All of the Above was the first book I've read by Dawson, but it definitely won't be the last. 

1 comment:

  1. One of my all time favourite novels. Juno Dawson is amazing.
    -Shannon @ Adventures Of A Teenage Bookworm