Monday, 7 September 2015

All Of The Above by James 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 Polly ... love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

Dawson's latest was not his usual genre but still had his distinctive voice and authentic teenage characters that made it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

It was so adorable and romantic while tackling coming of age questions, the typical teenage-y troubles that come from moving house and finding your place in already-formed friendship groups. Lucky for Toria, she falls in the assorted group of misfits that are all so unique, so sweet and mesh so well together. This amazing set of friends that Dawson created were so varied and wild, just a brilliant portrayal of the masks we hide behind, especially when we're struggling through everything from first boyfriends to exams.

The most important thing in this book was that Toria made mistakes and learned that as long as you stay true to yourself, it's ok. Although with hormones and conflicting emotions, that isn't easy! But her struggle with her sexuality and falling for someone you wouldn't expect, that was difficult. It's a tough thing to come to terms with, especially if you're worried about perception from friends and family. But I thought it was incredibly sweet and open-minded that Toria does realise that it doesn't change who you are if you fall in love with someone surprising.

Published 3rd September 2015 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment: