Review: All of the Above (A Collection of Diverse Wonderfulness)

There's this book I just read and I like it. It's called All of the Above by James Dawson. Read the synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads with a few corrections from me), and then I'll tell you why. (Or just skip over this and read my review. But then you wouldn't understand what was going on.)

When sixteen-year-old Toria Grand arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who's the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the 'alternative' kids take Toria under their wing. And that's when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, bass guitarist of a local band - and it's instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there's Polly . . . love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles. 

All I could think when I was reading this book was YES! Yes to diversity, yes to not caring what anyone else thinks, and yes to being yourself.

Also yes to miniature golf. I've never played - or done whatever the AltKidz end up doing - but it sounds awesome. 
"It would be neater, wouldn't it, if this was a
story about self-harm or sexuality or eating
disorders, but it's a story about all of them.
Yeah, it's a mess.
And it's about to get messier.
The great thing about this book was that it wasn't afraid of using the odd stereotype, and then smashing it out of the water. Yes, there was the gay guy, but he was the only one who hadn't figured it out. Yes, there was the rebellious headmaster's daughter, but she just happened to be bi, and no-one cared. No-one even realised the mixed-race girl was part Indian, because she was so much more than that. I could basically sum up this book by saying no-one cared about what their friends couldn't help being. They just cared about their friends.

And, whether or not you've dealt with the same issues, this book was an accurate representation of what it's like to grow up away from the popular crowd, and even within it, because there wasn't just one issue. Oh no.

That's what made it real. Life isn't about self-harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players. It's about all of them. Yeah - it's a mess - and it's about to get messier when you read this book.

Oh, and by the way, the back cover is not kidding. This book does contain some strong language, but it helps the story along, I swear. And that was a play on words. ;-)

So, to put it succinctly (look at me with my fancy words. Freya would approve), this book is about growing up when you're not necessarily white, straight and popular. If you want to hear about that, then read it. 

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