Jan 10, 2011

Review - All You Get Is Me by Yvonne Prinz


All You Get Is Me by Yvonne Prinz
Published December 21st 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers

From the Publisher:
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.

Review:
Roar, short for Aurora, is adjusting to her new life living on a farm quite well considering she didn't want to move in the first place. It has only been two years since Roar's father moved her from San Francisco to the Middle-of-Nowhere, California. Her father, once a big-time lawyer, decided that a drastic change was needed after Roar's mother disappeared one too many times during a drunken binge. Roar's mother abuses alcohol and would come and go as she pleased. One night, she decided not to come home. That, or she was dead in a ditch somewhere.

Life on a farm is tough for Roar. She wakes at the crack of dawn and has a list of chores that are back breaking. Her father's organic farm is successful, and life is simple until Roar and her father are witnesses to a terrible car accident that kills a Mexican immigrant woman that was married to a local farm worker. A wealthy Caucasian woman was in too much of a hurry and made an illegal pass on a two-lane road. The immigrant was killed, but the baby in the back seat, as well as the Caucasian woman who caused the accident, walked away relatively unharmed. Roar's father decides he can't let the deadly act slide, he talks the worker into filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The town folk are not pleased. They don't exactly believe in equal rights between US citizens and illegal farm workers. Roar is taking the stares and whispers all in stride until she meets Forest, the son of the woman who caused the accident. Just in from L.A. for the summer, Roar is immediately drawn to the boy. Her shock-and-awe BFF Storm keeps pushing her to see the boy, but how would her father feel about her dating the son of a killer? Will he understand that Forest isn't guilty by association? Roar takes a leap, follows her heart, and finds her self having the summer of her life. 

I admit it, the cover art is what me to read this book. Photography is a huge hobby of mine, and that old film camera on the front of the book sucked me right in. This book was an absolute breeze to read. The language is snarky, fun, and full of sarcastic hits that made me smirk. Prinz nailed the teenage voice in this book. Roar and her best friend Storm throw witty quips and comments at each other that I was constantly reminded of my two teenage daughters. Storm is so defiant and outlandish that you can't help laugh out loud at some of her antics. Although Roar appears to be completely opposite of Storm, the two have a strong friendship built on honesty and...a little sarcasm. I looked forward to having Storm enter a scene. I was always excited to see what crazy thing came out of her mouth. I think there should be a companion book just for her. *hint*

Although I really enjoyed this book, I had a few "issues". The continuous use of the word "Mexican" was used to identify everything Hispanic or Latino. I would have like to have seen a little more diversity. There were a few culturally insensitive passages that I found totally unnecessary "dance like a white girl" and "..look like an Amish woman." Different words could have conveyed the same message - "...look like I just stepped out of The Little House on the Prairie" for example. There were a few stereotypes used against Latinos. Remember, even if it is a positive stereotype (smart Asian child, hard working Mexican), they are still stereotypes. I would have liked to have seen these edited out.

Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by the love story, witty dialogue, the surprising resolution with Roar's mother, and the diversity of characters. I would definitely give this read a try.

3.75 stars

6 comments:

  1. I just bought this one last week and I'm waiting for it to come in the mail. Thanks for the great review!

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  2. Aside from the stereotypes, this one sounds like a really good read. Thanks for the review!

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  3. These seems like a common plot theme. Having said that, it still looks really good. I also love photography was instantly drawn to the cover! Great review :)

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  4. Thanks for this wonderful and insightful review. I appreciate it so much. When I researched this book I was so eager to "get it right" and I worked closely with the California Institute of Rural Studies, an organization devoted to Working with Migrant Farm Workers on everything from housing to medical care to education. I also worked with Rick Knoll, the farmer that Roar's dad in the novel is based on, (Knollorganics.com), a pleasure, as they grow almost all the food I eat. As I was writing a story specifically about Mexicans, the consensus was that I should call them Mexicans or I often simply called them Farm Workers. I have a deep respect for these people and I've long been involved in several organizations devoted to farm workers rights including the United Farm Workers. I'm a proponent of Fair Food and I support my local family farms, all of whom employ undocumented farmworkers and that is what inspired this story. I'm SO glad you enjoyed this book and thank you again.
    Yvonne Prinz

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  5. Wow, thank you Yvonne for reading my review! I appreciate your comment about the research behind the book. Very interesting, and I love to hear about all of your efforts. I applaud them! I understand your point regarding the use of Mexican. My husband is Native American Indian and we use the term "Indian" when a lot of other Indians don't. They prefer Native or American Indian.

    I really did enjoy the book! You totally nailed the teenage voice. I hope to read more from you and I hope you heard my hint - Storm needs her own book!

    Jen

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  6. I too loved Storm's character & I can't believe I didn't mention her in my review! lol It's interesting to see 2 people's point of views from reading the same book & what each one of us gets from it.

    Nice review!

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