4 out of 4 stars
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No one ever forgets their first love. The emotional rollercoaster of a teenage romance is one that Kerri has never experienced before and in Erin Lockwood´s novel, All of the Rogers, she not only falls in love with Roger, she also has to learn how to cope with the heartache that goes hand in hand with being a teenager.
Kerri has been a ballerina for as long as she can remember, pushed on by her mother to be the best. When she misses out on her Julliard audition, ballet becomes a thing of the past as she finally has the time to do the things which she has always missed out on.
Aided by her best friend, Neve, Kerri needs to rediscover who she is, away from ballet. Always feeling like the outsider, when Roger approaches her she can’t believe that he’s actually interested in her. As their relationship blossoms, Kerri is finally free to act like a normal teenager, but challenges are always just around the corner. She needs to decide for herself what sort of person she wants to be and, with pressure from every side, can she be strong enough to find her own identity?
This book was an absolute delight to read. Written in first person from Kerri´s perspective, the reader is able to experience all of her ups and downs and live the drama of high school along with her. The characters are all very well written, making them both three dimensional and realistic. Kerri, suffering from an over bearing, helicopter mother and a work focused father, turns to her brother, Brad, for guidance and friendship. Her character develops skillfully from a shy, obedient ballerina, to someone who questions her identity and starts to discover her own morals and self-worth. Her progression is great to see, and the fact that it’s not all smooth sailing makes it all the more believable. Roger is a great contrast to Kerry, as he´s outgoing, popular and friendly. Even though he appears easy going, he has secrets buried beneath the surface that start to show through the cracks as the story progresses.
There were a lot of landmark life events covered in this story, from Kerri getting her first period to losing her virginity. There were also some very serious issues portrayed as well, from drunk driving and alcoholism, to mental illness and suicide. While this could make for a very depressing book, the author manages to weave these subjects into a rich tapestry of hope and bravery.
Set in the USA, this is a coming of age story for Kerri, encompassing everything from teenage angst and hormonal changes, to learning about love, who her real friends are and what’s really important in her life. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I laughed, I cringed, I cried, I was transported right back to high school, and I certainly could not put it down, reading it late into the night. From the writing style to the subject matter, there was not one thing to criticize and I rate this a well-deserved 4 out of 4 stars. Classified as other fiction, this is a book for everyone as its part love story, part self-discovery. I would especially recommend it to those leaving school, to realize that everyone has their own struggles and that support is always out there.
All of the Rogers
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