Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti (ARC)

All I Need by Susane Colasanti
Viking Juvenile (an imprint of Penguin), 224 Pages
Expected US Release Date: May 16, 2013 (according to the ARC)
Format/Source: Print ARC, via Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge, SARC

The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.
----------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
Following your heart means allowing the possibility of finding true love to be stronger than the fear of rejection.
Before I even jump into any of this review, I feel the need to disclose something: I don’t believe in soulmates. I’ve had varying reactions to this when people find out. Some people are just like “ok, that’s cool” and move on; others share my sentiments; and I’ve had a few that are straight up offended, like I’ve just insulted their very core belief. And maybe I have, I’m not in any position to say soulmates shouldn’t be the basis of your life. I don’t say this opinion lightly, and I’ve thought about it long and hard. I’m not some jilted, heart-broken mess of a girl who’s saying it because she’s convinced she’ll never find her love. I just genuinely do not believe in there being The One for someone.

So with that in mind, you can probably tell that I had a hard time swallowing All I Need. Usually I’m pretty good about suspending that belief when it comes to reading, but for some reason it was difficult this time around. I do think a little of my 26-year-old cynicism was playing a part, since I found it most hard to handle when Skye was all “but I know we’re meant to be together, we can face anything” or things like that.

Perhaps that’s also because I was bothered by Skye as a whole. She seemed very young, much younger than a junior/senior in high school. I thought she was spineless and needed to handle her best friends’ issues a little better. And I think my biggest issue is that I felt like she couldn’t stand on her own – she had to have Seth to be her own person. I get that that is what it’s like in high school and first loves, but it was quite annoying. I want a character that can stand on her own, that finds her way into being an individual, a character I can want my little cousins to look up to; and unfortunately, Skye was not it.

However, I did quite like Seth! He too seemed a little young for being a college guy, but I could handle him better.  I thought he had real issues, and maybe it’s because I went through college much more recently than high school (obviously), I was able to sympathise with him more. Especially when it came to being uncertain about his major and following his passion for art.

Let’s talk writing. We all know I love me some dual narratives (do you know that? Because you should. Give me a dual narrative any day of the week and I will be a happy reader.), and I quite liked it here, too. The jumping timeline was a little startling at first, and I started getting a little iffy about all the fast-forwards, but it’s fine. I really liked getting the reactions of both Skye and Seth when important things happened. This story would not have been bearable without them.

However! I had problems with the writing itself—it felt so young, so very juvenile fiction. And I tried to read it with that mindset, except the content was not juvenile – it was about college and gross roommates and sex! It was a terrible mash up for the writing not matching the content, and I couldn’t take it.  I want to recommend this for the younger set, as maybe a great bridge to the YA world from MG, because it would be! Except I’d have to censor a few of the chapters, because it was definitely not just-past-MG material.

All I Need was a fine contemporary, and one I don’t really regret reading – but it had too many issues for me to recommend it. I really like Susane Colasanti’s books, but I’d definitely go for Keep Holding On or When It Happens over All I Need.
2.5 Stars


  1. I didn't believe in soul mates either -- until I found mine. ;)

    Great review. Can't wait to get this one. Thanks!

  2. Yeah, this book was very "meh" to me too. It did feel young, but with more mature "college" age themes. And I didn't like how the book raced through time. Wasn't it set over the course of two or three years? For a book to feature a timeline like that, I felt like I knew surprisingly little about the two main characters.

  3. I'm sad that this book wasn't as wonderful as you thought it'd be. I haven't had much experience with Colasanti's work, but I don't remember most of it. We'll see if this one strikes a chord, as I'm actually interested in checking it out!

  4. I don't believe in soulmates either. It just doesn't seem realistic- I know people whose spouses died and they remarried. Does that mean only one of those significant others was a soulmate? Anyway, it stinks that Skye wasn't an independent character. I may still give this one a shot, but that's disappointing.

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