BookCrushin is happy to be a part of Kim Holden’s Book Blitz for All of It! Today we have a review from our guest reviewer, Sara Meadows, as well as an excerpt and all the book information! Hope you add this one to your TBR!
All of It by Kim Holden
Seventeen-year-old VERONICA SMITH has it all: a loving family, a funky car named Jezebel, and a plan to go to college after graduation.
On the first day of senior year, she meets DIMITRI GLENN–a mysterious transfer student with gray eyes and a mischievous smile who seems determined to win her heart. But there’s something odd about Dimitri, leading Veronica to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye.
Before long she finds herself in a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true–until a series of devastating events leaves her questioning everything.
It’s not until she chooses to think with her heart instead of her mind that she can rise from the ashes to learn the truth of their connection.
Dimitri’s face is peaceful and angelic as he rises to help me put my coat on. “Thanks for coming over tonight, Ronnie. You don’t know what it meant to me. I feel like this is the first time I’ve been able to breathe in months.” He lifts his hand, but hesitantly stops just short of brushing my cheek. He smiles and lowers it. “Can I walk you to your car?”
My heart is soaring and my palms are sweaty. “I’d like that.”
We walk slowly down the long driveway, our bodies so close that our arms brush against each other. I think back to the first day of school and smile; personal space is so overrated.
He opens the driver side door and stands behind it at a safe distance so as not to make the situation awkward. I throw my bag through onto the passenger seat and stand with one hand on the door and the other on the steering wheel. When I look up at him he’s staring down at me. His eyes glitter in the streetlight.
It’s at that moment that my life comes into focus, like flipping a switch. The entire world tilts back onto its axis. Call it an epiphany; the rare type of realization that changes your life absolutely. I need this man in my life. I need him like I need air and water. He is part of me—my past and my future. Since the day we met I’ve given my heart to him … piece by piece. And it’s at this exact moment that I realize he has all of it. My heart is no longer mine; it belongs to him and always will.
He returns the smile—his beautiful smile. “What?” he asks softly.
“Thank you for being you, Dimitri.”
Not much escapes him and I know from the look in his eyes that he understands. He nods humbly. “You’re welcome.”
I duck down into the driver’s seat and look back up at him. “Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.” I don’t know if it’s a question or a declaration, but it’s hopeful.
He winks. “You can count on it.”
Slowly he shuts the door and moves to the sidewalk. I wave and pull away, watching him in my rearview mirror as he begins to fade into the distance. He stands there glowing under the streetlight like an angelic statue. When I turn the corner, he’s gone.
Life is sometimes … an epiphany.
Guest Review:[book rating=3.5/5.0]
“Hi, my name’s Veronica.”
“Hi, I’m Dmitri.”
I don’t know where to start with “All of It” by Kim Holden. It’s a gorgeous mess of a book. Some parts of it are beautiful and other parts aren’t. When it works, it really works. It is elegant and poetic and sweet and inspiring. When it doesn’t work, the story falls flat and feels contrived.
Veronica and Dmitri meet on the first day of their senior year; Dmitri is a new student and Veronica has been assigned as his tour guide. Veronica is a smart, self-aware, fleshed-out girl. She is a good student, a dutiful daughter, a natural caretaker with an inclination toward volunteering, and, really, seems to have everything together. She feels an instant attraction toward Dmitri, a suave stranger with an excellent memory and sexy smirk.
The first section of the book focuses on the blossoming romance between Dmitri and Veronica, and when I say focuses, I mean, focuses. Everything is discussed or dialogued or internally monologued. This isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed Veronica. She is sweet and funny. I liked Dmitri. I liked their friends and family members, the descriptions of their school events and their dates, etc.
What’s missing, though, are the details of Veronica’s interaction with her friends, particularly her closest friends Teagan and Tate. Their relationship is stressed constantly in the first act of the story, but the scenes are lacking. She does not have many one-on-one scenes with either Teagan or Tate, and even when she does hang out with them, the scenes aren’t well-written. That is my only “negative” from the first part of the book, and it really doesn’t become a negative until the next section of the novel.
The second part of “All Of It” is where the story started to lose me. Somehow, five months have suddenly passed, and Veronica is incredibly stressed out. She is dealing with some of the normal pressures of being a high school senior—college applications, financial aid, working a part-time job, friendships, and her relationship with Dmitri. Instead of asking for help, she takes everything upon herself and decides that, since she is overwhelmed and being a “bad friend,” she is going to make some drastic changes that don’t seem to fit with her personality at all. This is the type of action that drives me crazy in any character; instead of talking to someone, a character makes a unilateral decision which makes everyone miserable and could be easily avoided. I understand the need for conflict in a book; conflict moves the story forward. But this struggle is disingenuous, and I had a hard time believing that Veronica would act this way. Is she headstrong and independent? Yes. But she is also smart, smart enough to know that talking to people could help her.
This is also where the lack of details on her social life come into play; there isn’t enough evidence to support the notion that she has such strong relationships with her friends that she has to make other changes in her life. I’m a big believer in show me, don’t tell me, so this five-month time jump—especially after going into such great detail to describe a smaller quantity of time in the first part of the story—really threw me off track.
The book does make time leaps in later parts of the story, and, while these are weaved more gracefully into the story’s tapestry, I still feel as though I’m getting a voiceover instead of actual experiences. “All Of It” tries to really cover “all of it,” but it’s simply too much. There is an underlying theme throughout the book concerning Dmitri and Veronica’s relationship; Dmitri has the uncanny ability of knowing a lot more about Veronica than she has revealed to him. By the end of the novel we get the truth, though savvy readers will have figured it out much earlier in the story. This theme necessitated quite a bit of superfluous content.
I will say, too, that this book is an UCB—an Ugly Cry Book. I sobbed so pathetically at certain parts that I actually woke up my husband. Some of these parts were gorgeously written, authentic and heartbreaking. But there is one occurrence that I find just ridiculous. I flat-out got angry at its occurrence and said, Nope, I don’t believe that, not for one second. I still shake my head about.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it means that I became invested in these characters despite my criticisms. I admire any author who is dedicated enough to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and create an alternate world in which I can lose myself. With some fine-tuning this book could easily be a four- or five-star book.
“All Of It”: 3.5/5 Stars: Likeable characters, moving scenes, poetic, rhythmic, frustrating, head-scratching, ugly-cry inducing.
“God, I’d love to punch her right in her pretty little face. Just once. I’d never do it of course; I don’t have it in me. My body, though physically suited, is pacifistic. My mouth, on the other hand, though no prone to pre-emptive strikes, defends stupendously when provoked. Lucky for her the two don’t work in concert.” – Veronica, on dealing a snotty queen bee from her high school.
“Love can endure all things, I think. Even death.”
Guest Reviewer: Sara Meadows
Sara Meadows is a busy mom who, when not hanging out with her family, loves reading, scrapbooking, watching anything to do with superheroes, and correcting other people’s grammar as politely as possible. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sara lives in Virginia with her husband, three children, and three animals. She reads all types of fiction, and couldn’t possibly choose a favorite book if her life depended upon it.
Some of my favorite things: reading, writing, the two coolest guys on the planet (my husband and son), my bicycle (my husband built it for me), Facebook (I’m fairly certain it’s an addiction at this point), iced coffee (hazelnut), and music (LOVE the 1975, Dredg, the xx, Haim, Manchester Orchestra, Teenage Bottlerocket, and 30 Seconds to Mars). I also love dreaming. Big. Writing a few years ago was an elusive dream until I grabbed ahold of it with both hands and refused to let go. Keep following YOUR dreams. Be brave and do epic!