Bliss and contentment are the emotions that best describe how I feel as I am turning the last page of “All Of The Above”. There is only one other book out of the 120 I read in the past 2 years that made me feel that way, Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor & Park”. And just like Rainbow’s, Juno’s “All Of The Above” is pure undiluted love, literally!!
Nothing much ever happens in Brompton-on-Sea and while Victoria (Toria for short) is moving in, most people of her age are trying to escape, so you can imagine that her arrival is pretty big news. New school, new friends, new everything. This is now what Toria has to deal with and to succeed at all those, first impression is key!! So, no pressure!
Toria quickly dismisses all the unsuitable school cliques to find that she not only enjoys the company of the coolest bunch of misfits at Brompton High but that they also consider her part of the group. Life is even sweeter now that Toria and Nico are official and that her friendship with Polly, the backbone of the group is the strongest.
Everything is just perfect…except that all things in life are destined to change, and one change in particular, the catalyst all, is about to transform the dynamic of the group at a fundamental level.
Well, that last sentence was pretty dramatic, right?!
However it does not negate the fact that those kids are about to go through a roller coaster of change and emotion. Juno exposes us to a lot of heavy stuff here. From loss to mental illness, eating disorders and sexual identity issues, it is a lot for any teenager to cope with, and that’s even before considering school exams.
The story telling through all those complications was somehow made lighter and even funny at times, by the individual and distinct voices the author chose to award each character. The portrayal of the teenager is very authentic, and you will easily be able to recall how intense those times were back then.
Still, if I had to choose one favourite thing above all, it would have to be the richness in diversity that the piece has to offer. We are all in here, all of us! And I think that’s amazing.