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Everything Must Go: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 414 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 14 - 19||Grade Level: 10 - 12|
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From School Library Journal
"Written through text messages, blog posts, letters, journal entries, and more, Davis’s smart and witty debut captures a girl’s changing attitude and gradual acclimation to a very different environment. Filled with vibrant characters, it balances gentle jabs at pop culture and self-righteousness with thought-provoking ideas about feminist ideals and human frailties." ―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Thoughtful and provocative." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Told via letters, emails, and journal entries, this book insightfully handles a problematic relationship and presents a flawed, intelligent, and well-crafted protagonist." ―School Library Journal
"A hilarious and vibrant voice that leaps from the page, delivering a nuanced and immersive reading experience." ―Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and Somewhere Over the Sun
"Flora is truly one of a kind, and her story celebrates all the awkward, brilliant confusion of being young. Warm and hilarious and genuine―I’ve never read anything quite like it." ―Amy Zhang, author of This is Where The World Ends and Falling Into Place
“It’s magic to find such levels of bracing intelligence and vulnerable warmth in one book. Hilarious, incisive, and light on its feet, Everything Must Go is a treat for anyone who’s ever gone to great lengths to belong.” ―Eliot Schrefer, author of National Book Award Finalists Endangered and Threatened
"Clever, funny, self-deprecating (in the best of ways), and decidedly, fashionably feminist, Flora is a heroine for girls with a longing for romance, an affinity for the intellectual and the old-fashioned, and a particular flair for the dramatic. Flora is for all of us, in other words! And Davis, her creator, absolutely hilarious. Not to be missed!" ―Donna Freitas, author of Unplugged and The Body Market
- ASIN : B06XKJ9LYY
- Publisher : Wednesday Books (October 3, 2017)
- Publication date : October 3, 2017
- Language: : English
- File size : 3311 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 414 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1250119766
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #455,839 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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First and foremost, I do want to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book has been sitting on the back burner for too dang long and I do sincerely apologize for my delay in review.
With that being said, I'm sorry to report that this novel just did not work for me. And I tried, y'all. I read every last page before making my decision, but I just didn't click with this story, its characters, or its content.
I was initially lulled in by that bright and fantastic cover, because honestly who wouldn't be? And I loved the idea of a feminist novel targeted at teens that preaches self love and acceptance. Unfortunately, I didn't leave this book feeling empowered or inspired.
This story centers on our MC, Flora (read: a younger, vintage-obsessed version of Serena van der Woodsen, imo obviously), who leaves her ritzy all-girls school in NYC to attend an elite Quaker social justice school in order to follow the guy she loves. Plot twist? After being accepted to this new arts school she finds out the guy of her dreams won't actually be attending. Now enrolled at this new school (with a class of 32 students), Flora is forced to embrace new identities, ideologies, and ways of interacting with the world and her peers. Example: The campus forbids "shell speak" which is any commentary on a person's shell (body, looks, clothing, etc) so that you're forced to dig deeper and get to know them. A concept I actually thought was pretty cool despite the fact that our protagonist continues to use it until the VERY END of the novel. Even when she's judging people for being "hollow" and using "shell speak" against her she continues to prattle on about their looks/value system.
Now before this gets ranty, don't get me wrong, this novel is NOT all bad. It featured a ton of diversity, a protagonist that frequently checks her privilege, PLATONIC love (can I get an amen??), and truly intelligent writing -- especially within the progress reports/literary critique portions of the novel.
HOWEVER, my biggest problem with this novel is that those deep, interesting, enlightened portions aren't expanded or explored. It's not enough to just throw out the questions (via professor's feedback on her papers) or have a one-off line about a p.c. identity without exploring those concepts deeper. As the author is clearly well versed on these topics, I personally would have loved for more of the 400+ pages to be devoted to those types of discussions rather than consistent pining over an emotionally unavailable teenage boy.
At the end of the day, it's evident that Jenny Fran Davis is a smart and in-the-now writer whose work lands with a majority of readers. Just because this wasn't my cup of tea, doesn't mean it wouldn't be a great way to spend your afternoon.
Add to that the out-of-the-ordinary format of letters, emails and journal entries… Well, it looked promising!
At about 25% in the novel I started to get doubts. Flora felt very focused on the way she looks and I still didn’t get a lot of details on her life at Quare. Certain events are laid out, but it all feels very detached, even though you’re reading parts of her journal – but mostly emails that have been send back and forth between Flora, her friends and her sister.
But then the turn-around came and I started liking Everything Must Go. Actually. Started. Liking. It. Flora turns out to be the funny feminist and, even though I couldn’t really connect with her, I didn’t feel like it was essential to love this story.
This novel is unique in the way that Flora has already fallen in love and she needs to find her way coping with that love. By going to Quare – somewhere a materialistic person doesn’t really ‘fit in’ – she takes on multiple battles at once.
She has to fight to keep on to hope, love and, in a way, even friendship. She has to find her place in a little tight-knit community where standards are… Well, completely different than the standards she lives by.
Even though the feminist-aspect in this novel is clearly portrayed, it was the “no shell-speak” rule at Quare that grabbed me most. Really, that rule should be present everywhere.
At Quare, the students are practically forbidden – but not really – to comment on the appearances of their fellow peers in any way. You have to ignore the “shell”, focusing solely on the inner beauty of everyone around you. If you’re to give a compliment, compliment someone on their creativity, their way of thinking, but not on their hair, clothes, jewelry.
This idea, this rule. This is what I’ll remember about this novel. No more shell-speak.
The big negative for me, though, is the format. Expecting to love it, I ended up disliking it quite a bit. Even though it was a fun way of reading, I have to say that I might’ve connected with Flora more if this book was written as a diary, instead of the compilation of journal entries and e-mails. The odd e-mail could’ve been added, of course. But the main gist should’ve been Flora’s journal.
The main reason, except for connecting more? Flora’s mails often feel as if it’s supposed to be “just” prose instead of an e-mail. I can’t imagine ever writing someone an e-mail in which I’m quoting whole conversations, all details included. I would, however, write those things in a diary.
I’m giving this novel 3 / 5, considering it’s very promising and I enjoyed it, but the execution could’ve been better.
I received an eARC of this novel. All opinions in this review are entirely my own. I'm not being compensated in any way.