Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

28926581     When Lottie’s beloved aunt passes away soon after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, the meaning of life isn’t being revealed as plainly as before. Her aunt, Helen Reaves, had written a series of middle-grade novels about an immortal boy and his immortal sister, Alvin and Margo Hatter, that had stolen the hearts of people all around the world. How could someone so passionately loved by all be gone so quickly?

Everyone was shellshocked that, while Margo and Alvin would live forever, their creator would not.

In the midst of her grieving, Lottie receives a stack of letters written by her aunt, and is swept into an adventure of her own creation. With her talented hand and gentle care, Katrina Leno tells the story of family, friendship, loss, and secrets. Everything All At Once embodies what it takes to live with the good and thrive with the bad.

     Story time:

After a half a day of stress and anxiety over finals and AP exams and SATs and missing two weeks of school and pulling an all nighter for the first time on a school night, I was presented with a beautiful opportunity from my absolute favorite English teacher (and I’m not just saying that because she might be reading this). She had gone to a local book convention for those in the literary world and, as such, was thrown a dozen or so ARCs (advanced reader copies). She had the beautiful soul to lend them out to whoever wanted  one for some end of the school year reading material. (Not that I don’t have enough reading material, but you don’t pass up on books. “That’s how Fahrenheit 451 started.”      -my equally sleep deprived sister) I skimmed through them on Thursday morning until I found this little gem just waiting for me.

It was so perfect.

Perfectly timed, perfectly written, perfectly perfect. Now, I was in the mind-numbing state of easy-to-please, but I am confident that, even had I not wanted to stab my eyes out with a spork because ‘high school’, I’m under the impression that I would have enjoyed this just as much. It was a well appreciated break from life.

Everything was so relatable. Lottie has some severe anxiety issues and, having some of those myself, it was nice to hear the experience from a different mind set; to have someone explain it so perfectly when you couldn’t find the right words. The family aspect of the whole novel just put me over the edge of “I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.” Lottie and her brother, Abe, have such a tight knit bond, that of which I can easily see with my sister and I, and their parents hold a great understanding for their kid’s just being kids—going out to do teenager stuff, but still being present enough to take in what their children need them to and give every bit of love possible back. Following the family aspect, Abe’s girlfriend and Lottie’s best-friend and best-friend’s girlfriend are presented constantly through the story as ‘just apart of the family.’

My absolute favorite thing about this book is the characters themselves. When I think of every character individually—the people she meets, the friends she’s had, and the family that is always there—I can’t help but wish there was a book for every single one of them. That is how human they are. Each one of Leno’s characters is an individual that has their own thoughts and feelings and reactions, but they meld together so flawlessly you won’t even recognize how attached you get to them.

Oh. And, one more thing…


“You deserve to be whole. You deserve to remember. And you deserve to live.” -Katrina Leno, The Half Life of Molly Pierce





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