All You Get Is Me site
Copy obtained: bought hb
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: Dec 2010
A summer of love, loss and justice.
Things were complicated enough for Roar, even before her father decided to yank her out of the city and go organic. Suddenly, she's a farm girl, albeit a reluctant one, selling figs at the farmers' market and developing her photographs in a ramshackle shed. Caught between a troublemaking sidekick named Storm, a brooding, easy-on-the-eyes L.A. boy, and a father on a human rights crusade that challenges the fabric of the farm community, Roar is going to have to tackle it all - even with dirt under her fingernails and her hair pulled back with a rubber band meant for asparagus.
I really liked the sound of this book, and I was very taken by the cover as well, so I was looking forward to reading it. It started out pretty well, Roar (short for Aurora, but no one calls her that) is pretty easy to like and her narrative is soft and inviting. The set up, city girl now living on a farm in the middle of nowhere and what that entails, is well drawn and I found myself wishing I was actually there several times.
But, a lot of the story didn't work for me quite as it should have. There are a few chapters, particularly early on, where they are Roar's retelling of what went wrong in the city, why she and her dad left. Which were okay in themselves, even if I did feel they slowed the forward movement of the story down, but it turned out there was little relavance to them. Yes, they explain where Roar is coming from, what she's like, and how much she's changing. But honestly, there was just too much. It didn't all need to be in there and most of what I needed to know I learned from just a few short paragraphs within those chapters. It just slowed things down without giving any real extra insight.
I also feel that overall, the book didn't seem to have a real focus. In theory, the focus is on Roar and how she's growing up and adapting to her new life, what it means, and falling in love for the first time. But there is a big sub plot as well, involving her father and what he's working on. Instead of creating an added intensity and something for Roar to be dealing with or involved in though, it seems to just kind of happen. Things flick between that and her romance and the other little things going on leaving just the surface scratched on most accounts and not really getting anywhere deeper.
I liked Roar, I liked some of the side characters as well, but the romantic storyline fell somewhat flat as well, and I didn't much like Roar's best friend Storm either. It's not a bad book by any means. It certainly has some good descriptions of farm life, and as I said, I kept wishing I was there. But while the story was strong enough that I wanted to finish it, I was left feeling kind of disappointed and unsatisfied. I think had the big secondary plot had more depth given to it, or had it been left out and the focus been left purely on Roar and her romance, I'd have preferred it. It's still a reasonable book though and I'm sure there are those who would enjoy the lighter read more than I did.