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Reviewed by:
  • Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno
  • Deborah Stevenson, Editor
Leno, Katrina Everything All at Once. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, 2017[368p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-249309-5 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-249312-5 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 7–10

High school senior Lottie is devastated by the death of her favorite aunt, Helen, an author whose fantasy books about a brother and sister dabbling with immortality rocketed her to international fame. Helen has left Lottie a series of letters that give her missions and instruct her to take risks that hyperanxious Lottie would ordinarily avoid. These missions lead her to many things—teaching Aunt Helen’s college class, doing something reckless, and meeting Sam, a boy who knew and loved her aunt, and who is central to the secret Helen hints at in her letters. The premise is a dead ringer for Johnson’s Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes (BCCB 10/05), and the scavenger-hunt pleasure of following a trail of legacy instructions remains strong. However, it’s stretched beyond plausibility here, and Helen is too sanctified by the golden glow of universal adoration to be genuinely likable while Lottie’s anxiety is only occasionally effectively conveyed; additionally, the fantastical twist is slow in coming, lacking any satisfying punch. Fans of Johnson’s adventure may still find the notion hard to resist, though, and the touch of magic provides additional appeal. [End Page 459]



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p. 459
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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