For What It's Worth

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

review: All in pieces by suzanne young


28954232“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.


The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.


Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own, a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself—except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.


And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: I’m really torn on this book. There are things that pack such an emotional punch that I was close to tears. Other things had me raging at the characters, and for at least 1/2 the book, I was left scratching my head in confusion.

So here’s the quick of it.

Savannah Sutton stabbed her ex-boyfriend in the hand after he called her little brother the r ( retard ) word (Evan is developmentally disabled) and landed in an alternative HS program. The ex, Patrick, is still harassing her and calling her Slutton whenever he sees her in public. She has two best friends at the new school – Retha, a girl with anger issues and the Travis, a boy from an abusive home with a drug/alcohol addiction. She also meets the mysterious Cameron who has a BMW and only speaks to Savannah. If you’re rolling your eyes at the description of Cameron – you should – and I’ll get back to that in a minute.

At home, Savannah is basically the sole caretaker for her 7 year old brother, Evan. Her mother left them and her father is a drunk who wants to give up custody of Evan to Savvy’s aunt. Something that Savvy refuses to let happen despite struggling to go got to school, be home for Evan, handle his outbursts, take care of her father and keep food on the table.

Everything about Savannah and her brother was wonderful and gut wrenching. She is doing everything possible to keep him and take care of him but it’s not enough. Their aunt keeps threatening to take full custody of Evan and it broke my heart how she didn’t want Savvy too and was so cold about wanting to keep Evan from his sister. Her father is no better with his drunken outbursts. It was hard to read and I hated them but it was that good kind of emotional reading – when you’re so caught up in the book that you want to crawl in and smack the characters.

Her friendships with Retha and Travis were a bright spot – even though they have troubles of their own, they are all supportive and protective of each other.

Then there’s the romance.

Cameron is in the HS program but doesn’t talk to anyone except Savvy. But it’s a “hi” or “what’s up?” with no eye contact and then he just walks away. This goes on for a while until Retha forces the issue so they have to talk face to face. There’s mysterious and then there’s mysterious. Cameron is SO mysterious that I thought he might be an alien or something lol He asks her dozens of questions, invites himself everywhere and then won’t answer anything. He's evasive and turns hot and cold. Not in anger but just walks off or stops talking. He picks her up, drives her everywhere and is obviously supportive but then walks away as if he wasn’t just about to kiss her. He’s a weirdo and somehow this is supposed to be super romantic and sexy. And I can see why people would think that – because, as he's written, the boy has zero flaws when it comes to Savannah. He’s like this perfect unicorn of a boyfriend. Always appearing at the perfect moment, doing the perfect thing.

Except, it’s ignoring an awful lot about him. Like the fact that he did hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to HS because he wanted to drop out because he’s not a school or job kind of guy. His parents are rich so they had previously bought his way out of trouble. The only reason he’s agreed to go to the alternative HS ( and I say that loosely because he skips classes all the time) is because his parents threatened to take his BMW away. And they didn't after all the damage he caused?? Nope. Instead they're worried he hasn't' made friends in his new school and order him take out all the time.

They're perfect unicorn parents too. They welcome Savannah and her brother right into their home – which is wonderful! – but they let her stay over, sleep with Cameron, pay for whatever Cameron wants – which apparently includes a road trip at the end of the book. Because Cameron is free man...can't tie him down...

He may be a supportive guy to Savannah but he’s also an entitled brat with anger issues that apparently don’t matter.

And let’s talk about the anger issues in this book. Several characters solve everything by beating people up. No-one calls or tells the authorities. There are no consequences to anyone’s actions. No-one really learns anything IMO.

The end just wraps it all up says – oh look there’s hope! but while it does wrap up Savannah’s immediate problems well (if too easily after all that heartache) – Evan, her aunt, her father – it doesn’t deal with Cameron (who’s so perfect who cares if he’s a slacker who beats up people and destroys property) or her friends who pretty much vanish except by phone for the second half of the book.

I don’t know…there were things I really liked about All In Pieces but the romance was a deal breaker for me. I adore romance in my stories but I’m finding it more and more difficult to be on board when they are shoehorned into books with serious issues. I absolutely think relationships and love can help turn your life around but in this book it’s ignoring some pretty big red flags and acting like Savannah finding a rich boyfriend solves everything. Cameron and his family are nice but it’s a weird way to disentangle Savannah from all her problems without addressing anything else the author brought up.

So yeah…that was a bit of a ramble.  I had feelings. Which I haven't had in a long time about a book. So there's that. lol

35 comments:

  1. LOL, so this is the ranty review. I expected it to be more abrasive though. You're so nice even when you're angry ;).

    I don't get how the supposed perfect boys are represented in books lately. Whether they are too good to be true, or they are the opposite of that but for some reasons their flaws are supposed to be fascinating and charming. There are too many girls who fall for that already - maybe books should teach them that some things are not OK...Also, love is the answer to everything? pretty please... :/

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    1. I answered your comment on Monday that said I oversold the rant lol

      It wasn't so much nice or not nice - I liked Sva and her story just not the romance.

      Yeah, this guy...because he won't talk to anyone but her he's all mysterious and must *have hidden depths*. The ONE time his father brings up responsibility, Sav yells at the dad for embarrassing Cameron. He literally won't get a job but keeps all his fancy stuff and his parents just go along with it.

      In this case it wasn't so much love fixed everything - but finding such an accepting guy and his family certainly washed a lot under the rug.

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  2. This sounds like a confusing mess. Lol
    Not sure I would want to touch this.

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    1. It kind of was. The family aspect was super intense and the romance/alternative school didn't mesh with that for me.

      But for fans of issue contemporary who are less picky about the romance should love it. (if all the 5 star goodreads reviews indicates anything)

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  3. This one sounds like confusing indeed. But I do like to read about Savanna's relationship with her brother. Everything family makes me teary eyed and that's exactly what I like :)

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    1. Then it would probably be a fantastic read for you! The family aspect was done really well even if it made me want to throw the book across the room. lol I really hated a few of the characters - and I'm not talking about the romance in this case. They were supposed to be unlikable or complex.

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  4. "I thought he might be an alien or something" LOL

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  5. It sounds like it was a little bit confusing and I really don't like that in the books I read.

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    1. It just left some things unresolved in my opinion. Like the author didn't' even think Cameron's issues were a thing to be resolved?

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  6. I love the relationship Savvy has with her brother, so much responsibility for a teen to take on but she sounds so protective and the only stable person he has in his life. Even the father being an alcoholic is confronting but apart from that, the rest sadly sounds incredibly messy and the romance is probably unnecessary and a little weird to be honest. I really enjoyed her Program series so disappointed to hear this wasn't all that great. Wonderful review Karen, so you couldn't have enjoyed it a little more <3

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    1. I honestly think it's worth reading just for that and most people LOVED Cameron. It could be my old lady, protective thing going on and I can't just enjoy a hot boy lol but it felt wrong and unresolved for me.

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  7. At least you had the feels. :) I hate it when books do that. Like they need an anchor or something. That just saying it happens doesn't mean it fits or makes sense. Yea, I do think I'll pass on this one. Brilly review!

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    1. I did! The brother/sister relationship was a gut punch.

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  8. LOL there is that. Bummer it didn't totally work for ya but, yeah, good to have some feels at least!

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    1. Even though i was angry - it was kind of good to get so riled up about a book. lol

      Everything has been so meh that GRRRR isn't always a bad thing.

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  9. Awww, what a bummer that you have such mixed feelings about this book, because the description made it sound like the kind of book I'd love to dive into. I know what you mean though about feeling as though a romance is forced or "shoehorned" (love that expression) and that's a shame you felt it happening here. Thanks so much for the review; I always love to hear what you are reading :)

    XOXO

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    1. I did but I had STRONG feelings so I think that's kind of good?? lol Better than forgettable I guess.

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  10. Hmm, you're right. It doesn't address things that teens (and us adults) need to see addressed as bad or harmful behavior and Cameron's parents would give me a twitch in the eye. At least Savannah's part of the story really engaged you.

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    1. They're really nice and supportive to Sav but I just can't believe they would ignore so much with Cameron. and keep paying his away to such a degree that he's so entitled.

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  11. So Cameron is an ass basically lol. You know the description kinda reminds of Steff from Pretty in Pink. Ha ha I was just thinking of that guy last night because of another post ... it sounds like it handles her relationship with her brother really well, too bad it falls down a bit on the Cameron stuff. His parents sound off. And is it me or are they sending the wrong message sometimes with these "bad boys"- don't people hate this behavior in real life lol?

    Nice review.

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    1. But perfect so yeah lol

      He's such a great boyfriend. He really is but then that means the author ends up ignoring all the things he's done leading up to meeting Savannah. Other than being nice to her (which is great!) he doesn't grow at all.

      I would think a parent would at the very least take their teens BMW away for destroying school property lol

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  12. Unicorn parent, lmao! But I prefer that than vilified parents, if there's sex positive, than I'm all for positive kid-parent relationships too

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    1. Agreed, but in this case I think the author completely overlooked Cameron's issues by making them so perfect.

      I loved how they were with Savannah and her little brother and how supportive they were but they just keep throwing money at Cameron even though he doesn't really go to school or get a job.

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  13. I think I'd have issues with this one too.

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    1. Sometimes I feel like I may be too old to read these anymore lol

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  14. Yeah I think I get your feelings but did you like it or did it make you angry over everything ? I feel like that I might have thrown the book a couple times.

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    1. Both? lol There were things I really loved but stuff I couldn't let go of enough to enjoy.

      Some stuff was SUPPOSED to make you angry though and that's a good thing. Just not the romance IMO.

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  15. The thing is, I totally get what you're saying, there was a whole lot that probably wasn't good in this book. The thing is, I kind of didn't care. Sure, Cameron was ridiculous and his parents were not real people but I just liked it. I think it was the struggles of Savannah that I connected with most and so even though Cameron was ridiculous she needed the support of others around her and so I liked she got something good at least.

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    1. I can totally see that. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did - except for the Cameron thing. I just wish Young either addressed his issues or never brought them up because it was hard for me to let that go even though I wanted Sav to have her well deserved HEA.

      I think I'm having a hard time lately reading books that bring up really serious things and then kind of drop the ball on portions of it.

      I loved everything about Sav and Evan though. I was in tears several times. And I would have been fine with Cameron and his family being wonderful to her (as you said - she deserves it all!) just not when combined with his issues not being addressed.

      I will say that this book made me super emotional - both good and bad lol - and I consider that a good thing in a sea meh reads.

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  16. Sticking a pencil in someone's eye equals anger management? Really? I'd consider that somewhere between "budding psychopath" and "needs mental help yesterday." Ahhh, it's such a bummer when thee writing is nice but the romance kills it.

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  17. Eeesh. To be honest, you lost me with the background of Savannah's home life. I've read way too many books like this and it's getting old. Then you add in the angry rich kids with parents who are "oh so cool" with everything and, yeah... nope. Sorry this one didn't work out.

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  18. Yes, I don't think this one will be for me. Rich, enabling parents and crappy, neglectful parents all in one book would be too much for me.

    Jen Ryland

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