Title: Everything Is Fine
Author: Ann Dee Ellis
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Release Date: March 1, 2009
Size: 160 pages, hardcover
Genre: Middle Grade
Stuck at home caring for her severely depressed mother and abandoned by her father, Mazzy has only the day-to-day dramas of her neighborhood to keep her busy. But between flirting with the boy next door and worrying about the fact that she’s flat-chested, Mazzy has to face the fact that her mom is emotionally paralyzed by a family tragedy. As readers delve into the story, they’ll eventually discover what it was that tore Mazzy’s family apart, and they’ll see what it takes to put it back together.
Despite its serious subject matter, Mazzy brings humor to the trying age of adolescence and gives readers just the kind of awkward, troubled, and endearing character they will gladly embrace.
I read and read for the hook that got me into the book. It was hard to read about her abandonment, her mother's indifference, and others concerns.
Then things are explained…
Review by Alexa
Everything is Fine is told in a unique format. It almost has the feel of a novel told in verse where each poem has its own title and scene, except these scenes are conveyed in paragraphs of crisp, honest prose. This gives the book a more literary feel that manages conveys deep emotion with subtle touches of humor sprinkled throughout the story. Mazzy likes to express herself through abstract art, and her little drawings appear in the book. I thought this was an interesting technique, but was disappointed that they were all in black and white without any color.
Mazzy is at that awkward stage of adolescence where she starts to have her first crush on the boy next door and worries about her chest size; she often puts oranges in her training bra to make herself look bigger, and draws sketches of breast shapes. I know these details will offend some readers, but they were never crude. This honesty on the part of the author makes Mazzy into a quirky and painfully awkward kid to watch grow up, but the little dramas in her neighborhood, and curiosity about what happened to her family kept me reading. I didn’t want to put the book down when I had to do something else because the story is compelling.
I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. It was an interesting read with good writing, but the bluntly honest style about a girl going through puberty wasn’t really my thing.
Age appropriate: Pre-teens, teens. Subject matter may be offensive to some readers.