“Book Review: Everything All At Once“
Reviewed by Genevieve Hartman
A moody, drama-filled coming-of-age story exploring the lives of nine music-loving teens forging new relationships
The first book in the Chorduroys and Too Many Boys series, Everything All At Once lives up to its title. Ivy Cayden spins a web of secret crushes, stolen kisses, and love triangles galore in this young adult novel, all wrapped up by a specialized playlist curated by the author and incorporated into the book.
Everything All At Once primarily follows Kila and Ethan Lorens, two teens who face big questions about friendships, first loves as they navigate high school and what lies ahead. Ethan is part of a boyband with best friends Angus and Brixton. Kila daydreams about unavailable Angus, while trying to piece together why her friendship with Brixton ended suddenly and working to convince her best friends Anna and Maya to tell their respective crushes–Brixton and Ethan–how they feel.
As the group struggles to make sense of the tangle of emotions, complications arise in the form of new love interests, old exes, a secret that Maya’s been keeping, and a big party at the Lorens’ house sans parents to round out the drama.
Despite weighing in at 497 pages, Cayden tells Kila and Ethan’s stories at break-neck speed, moving between settings and characters to portray a group of bright and lovable teens.
The addition of a playlist sets the mood for much of the story. Through music, Cayden characterizes Kila and her friends, as they stress about life while kicking back to the alt indie tunes that fill the Everything All At Once playlist. That said, given the fast-paced nature of the novel, the music can be a bit of sensory overload. The track length doesn’t always match up with the writing, and since people read at different speeds, it could make for a lot of pauses to coordinate the reading and the music.
Aside from the logistical challenges that come with a multimedia novel, Everything All At Once shows a group of forward-thinking, fairly responsible young adults. Most of the characters are vegan. All of them are honest and respectful of each others’ boundaries and feelings. And despite the parent-less co-ed weekend, the most rowdy it gets is some kisses in the moonlight. Be warned, though: since this is only the first book in the series, there’s still more to Kila, Ethan, their friends, and their love stories than takes up the length of this novel.
Kila and crew’s wild, event-packed weekend holds all the surprising twists, heartfelt declarations, and uncertainties one would hope for in a fast-paced teen romance. Music-loving teenagers looking for their next read may just find that Everything All At Once has all the tunes and the tales they can ask for.
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult / Coming of Age
Print Length: 296 pages
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