Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Title: All I Need
Author: Susane Colasanti

Genre: YA Romance
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Length: 240 pages
Original Publishing Date: May 21st, 2013
Series: Standalone
Where I got it: E-library

Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.

Main characters: 2.5/5

Who were they again? I had a really hard time getting to know either of the main characters very in depth. I knew that Seth was an artist and liked the Police but what else did I really find out? The characters were very stagnant throughout and sort of like cardboard cut-outs of real people- with no real personality or true emotions. However, the last third of the novel turned on the conflict and this brought out changes in both Seth and Skye. I loved seeing Skye's personal struggles and debates with herself over Seth and the rest of her life. But it made me wonder why Seth had all the baggage and not Skye.

Secondary characters: 2/5

There was a limited cast of secondary characters as most of the attention was focused on Seth and Skye. However, Skye's friends and Seth's roommates made some appearances. I didn't particularly care for either of Skye's friends because they came across pretty negative in the novel. I was also disappointed that I didn't get to see any of Seth's friends. He ragged on his roommates a lot but never mentioned any other actual friends. Seems a little unrealistic and pretty lonely to me.

Writing style: 2.5/5

Colasanti's writing style is easy to read and accessible. The dialogue is believable, for the most part. The pacing moves along well. However, Colasanti uses her writing style to try and make the plot into something bigger than it is. Or, rather, she tries to force the plot to have meaning through the writing. Let me explain it like this: everything is described in a very melodramatic fashion. Skye begins her opening chapter by hoping for a boy "who will connect with me like no one else ever has. The boy who will change my life forever". Wow. That's a lot of foreshadowing and a lot of dramatic pressure to put on a simple love story. But this isn't the only example. They happen on every page, from "I have to touch him or I'll die" to "We're transcending all of the everyday noise". I wish Colasanti had let the dialogue and the story speak more for themselves.

Plot: 2.5/5 
My first thought? Wow, that was quick. One minute they met and the next they are in love. Literally. I had no idea who the characters were and suddenly they were in love and I felt very alienated. It didn't help that the chapters often skipped large chunks of time so I couldn't see them falling in love, I was just told. I liked the general premise of the story (although it was certainly nothing new). The details of Skye's life back in high school were very real and the friend drama added an extra element that I could totally relate to. My only other negative was that there was a lack of real plot or conflict in the story. And, just to nitpick a personal distaste, I didn't like how Colasanti fell into the stereotype of portraying fraternity men and anyone who drinks or parties as assholes.

Ending: 3/5

The conflict was very realistic and easy to relate to. The ending itself was adorable and I was very happy with how it tied up almost all of the loose ends. Except, I didn't feel that the core conflict had really been resolved in any key way. Seth and Skye definitely had some problems that needed to be ironed out and I'm not sure how that worked out.

Best scene: The hotel scene- so cute!

Reminded Me Of: Those Robin Jones Gunn books that I used to read in high school

Positives: Cute ending, readable writing style, some interesting growth and independence from Skye

Negatives: Being "told" rather than being "shown", the lack of conflict and resolution, the melodramatic descriptions of, well, everything, the lack of characterization, the instalove

Cover: Awww.. It's simple, sweet and realistic. It goes with the story well. Props on the cover.

Verdict: Fell short in so many ways

Rating:  5.0 / 10 (3 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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