Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Review: All of You by Christina Lee
Released: September 17th, 2013
Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes. When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing. Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too. So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.
All of You is a book I didn't think I'd enjoy as much as I did. I got completely lost in the story and was so invested in Avery and Bennett's relationship that I couldn't bear to stop reading. Yes it had its cheesy parts and hardcore sexy times, but I think I'm getting used to that now when it comes to New Adult books. Seems it's part and parcel of the genre!
Avery is a single girl living the no strings single life, looking out for her brother and working in a nursing home. She's happy where she's at and doesn't intend to fall for anyone, least of all kind, hot tattoo artist Bennett. There are many obstacles in their way -- most of them stemming from Avery's commitment aversion -- and the slow, winding development of their relationship is amongst the best I've read recently.
Both Bennett and Avery have their flaws, of course, but they make them who they are and show a side of realism that I like my contemporary characters to have. There's no perfection to their lives, they are who they are and still it works. There's layer upon layer of angst and drama in All of You, but it never feels forced or like it couldn't actually happen in real life. I like that about a book.
Although Bennett is supposed to be super hot (of course), that is never his defining feature. He has a soul, feelings and emotions, and he's the virgin in the story, rather than Avery. That right there is a genre stereotype flipped on its head, and a welcome one at that. It's no fun reading the same thing over and over, so well done to Christine Lee for mixing things up a bit.
Avery is a girl I didn't like much to start with, but she grew on me. I especially like her other life, the life of a care worker, and how that affected her in all aspects of what she did. She's closed off to begin with, but slowly she changes and matures and sees that there's more to life just waiting for her to accept it and go with it. She's fiercely independent and is harbouring some secrets of her own, which help to explain why she is how she is.
All of You is a book that basically consumed me for a day, one that made me lose myself in the story and think of the characters as friends. The writing is good, though I honestly could have done with less graphic sexual content. I find myself saying that about a fair few NA titles these days - just because some of us readers are in our twenties doesn't mean we all like to read such explicit scenes. I went with it, though, because I love Bennett and Avery and it did fit with their characters and story. I think NA fans will like this one as much as I do, but be warned that it does get a little hot and heavy from time to time. It's a great read and I'm looking forward to the companion novel being published in 2014!