Author: Lauren Miller
Thanks to NetGalley and Three Saints Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.
Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident. That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
Don't you just love these kind of books where you know right from the first page that you're going to love them? Because when I picked up All Things New and started reading it, I had that exact feeling. I couldn't even figure out why that was - the writing, maybe? The opening scene, because I just love college party scenes? I have no idea. It was probably both, mixed with this character that seemed so interested that I wanted to find out more and more, get lost in her world and not come back for a while. And Lauren Miller managed to write that kind of book for me - one I never wanted to end.
And even when I somehow knew what the mystery was all about after Jessa's accident, I was still under Lauren Miller's writing spell and couldn't put the book down. She seems like the kind of author that knows exactly how long a scene should be, like she has developed a feeling for it over the years of writing novels. Or perhaps she knows what the readers want to read, not being bored by dragged scenes, forced words and annoying facts. It has a good length and everything was sorted out at a good pace.
I think only few books capture the importance of speaking up about mental illness in a athentic way. Some characters are over the top, some escape their demons without any struggle as if it's the easiest thing in the world. Even though it isn't. And I think Jessa's character is the perfect example. Her problems might not seem that big of a deal to some, but I liked that certain realness to her - to all the characters, really. Her friends dealt with their own problems as well. Lauren Miller found an honest voice, ripped things down to a raw level that had me in tears several times.
There's beauty in everything and so it's no miracle that despite all the things Jessa has been and is going through during the story, there were a lot of aww! moments, too. Dare I say how awesome I think Marshall is?! He's like this inconspicuous guy, but of course there is more to him than that. Like certain types of magnets, I loved how drawn together he and Jessa were. I adored them.
Perhaps this book is more of a self help books than those books intended. As mentioned before, there is no sugarcoating anything in All Things New and I loved it to pieces. It's one of my favourite novels of the year and I can't wait for more people to discover their love for it. It's unlike anything I've read more, classified to the pile of books that really did an impact on me.