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.
- from Goodreads.com
I sort of hate this blurb because sure, that's vaguely what the book is about but it makes it sound a bit hokey. Roar is definitely not hokey. A talented photographer, she's a city girl at heart but trying to make this whole farm thing work for her dad's sake. Her mom fell into a deep depression and started leaving their house for days at a time until finally she just left. Her dad, heartbroken, bought the farm as a way to start over.
At first Roar is skeptical but without meaning to she sort of falls in love with farm life (and so does the reader). The farm is located in California and a lot of the workers are illegal migrant workers. When a Mexican woman gets hit by a developer in an SUV and is killed, Roar's father convinces her husband, an illegal worker, to sue. This gets all the farm workers and farmers up in arms and tears up their little farm community.
To make matters more complicated, Roar is falling for Forest, the son of the SUV-driving developer. They meet at the hospital and then, in the manner of small towns, keep meeting. Through Forest she learns more about his mother and how there's always more than two stories to everything.
Prinz's attention to detail sort of steals the story. I want to see Roar's photos because I can see them so clearly in my mind that it feels like I should be able to search for them on flickr. I really enjoyed hearing about organic farming and aspects of that life that I had little knowledge of like the migrant worker situation.
Also? Can I just tell you how much I loved Roar and Forest's relationship? From the beginning, it's clear that Roar has a thing for him and I love how unapologetically in love Roar is. She doesn't beat around the bush but doesn't swoon annoyingly either. It's just a fact of her life, she's totally head over heels. For instance:
Forest is carrying a box of beets over to the truck, his pale, lean arms straining. He and Tomas are laughing about something, which is also strange since they don't even speak the same language. I am absolutely lovesick for this boy.
- page 80.
It's that whole, 'it wouldn't be special if it was anyone else but since it's him/her, it's amazing' that teens are so good at. Lately I've been reading books where it takes teens a little while to figure out their feelings so Roar's matter-of-factness was refreshing. Their whole relationship, actually, is refreshing. It's just a boy and a girl and they think each other is amazing. They treat each other with love and respect and honesty and I may be pining a little bit now for them. There is some drama - Forest is leaving for NYU at the end of the summer - but neither ever really doubts that what they have is real. It's fantastic.
So if you can't tell, I really enjoyed All You Get Is Me. I fell in love with Roar and Forest and weirdly, organic farming. And you know what? Yvonne Prinz sent me a packet of seeds as a book promo and I'm ridiculously excited to plant them and have wildflowers on my balcony in the summer.
I wish this one was released in the spring because it really does feel like a good summer read. If you can wait that long and savour it then, I think you'll really like it.
(and since Yvonne is Canadian, this counts towards my Canadian fiction challenge! Yay!)
reviewed from library e-book copy