Sunday, March 3, 2013

All This Could End by Steph Bowe

What’s the craziest thing your mum has asked you to do? 

Nina doesn’t have a conventional family. Her family robs banks—even she and her twelve-year-old brother Tom are in on the act now. Sophia, Nina’s mother, keeps chasing the thrill: ‘Anyway, their money’s insured!’ she says. 

After yet another move and another new school, Nina is fed up and wants things to change. This time she’s made a friend she’s determined to keep: Spencer loves weird words and will talk to her about almost anything. His mother has just left home with a man who looks like a body-builder vampire, and his father and sister have stopped talking. 

Spencer and Nina both need each other as their families fall apart, but Nina is on the run and doesn’t know if she will ever see Spencer again. Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy, once again explores the hearts and minds of teenagers in a novel full of drama, laughter and characters with strange and wonderful ways.

Some fact-ish stuff:
All This could end is narrated by both Nina and Spencer, in alternating POVs.
There is a love story. 
And bank robbery's. With guns and stuff.
And intriguing family secrets, and sad family secrets, and secret secrets as well. 
It's about families and friendships and wanting and hoping and dreaming and growing up. And everythign complicated in between

Steph Bowe's second novel is an absolute breath of fresh air. Despite the original and delicious premise (a family of bank robbers) All This Could End is much more of a character driven than plot driven novel, . And this is where Bowe shines. Her characters are brimming with life and insecurities and intelligence and hope and just the perfect amount of truth and charm. 

The other thing I loved about this book is that it is this gorgeous blend of the real and the slightly surreal. This book is so grounded in real life, yet has the whimsiest* touches of creative licence. While reading I was reminded of a post Steph Bowe wrote where she talks about her 'love of the slightly ridiculous'. 

"I don't think ridiculous and genuine have to be mutually exclusive, or that literary fiction has the monopoly on affecting and brilliant stories. I think as long as there are characters the reader can empathise with, a ridiculous plotline will work (and some degree of self-awareness and irony helps)."

This quote really stood out to me when I first read the post (as a reader, I completely concur), and afterwards while reading All This Could End. All This Could End isn't all that ridiculous, at all, it's completely genuine and the characters are grounded and perfectly relate-able and achey. But. There are these perfectly delightful little anecdotes, memories and idiosyncrasies that just make the reader smile. It lifts the story and gives it this charming and fun edge. 

This is the kind of book you sink into and savour the vibe and small moments. It's narration is often full of internal dialogue. Fast-paced, it is not. I found it so easy to engage with both Nina and Spencer, but at times wished there was a bit more of a tug in the plot, that little bit of something that would keep me sitting a little bit tighter, keep me a little more glued to the pages. 

Most of all, this book is just full of soul with the right dash of whimsy. It's also the teensiest bit surprising, teetering on the edge of certain heartbreak, the climax and resolution and little mysteries unknown and revealing themselves at just the right moments. 

It has it's own utterly unique heartbeat. It's the kind of book that, when placed in the right set of hands, turns out to be a perfect kindred spirit kind of book.   

I have mentioned before how I so love Text publishing and a lot of the books they are bringing to readers. All This Could End is another gem of theirs and I would be so pleased to see this book picked up by international publishing houses. For those in Australia, this is not to be missed out on.

All This Could End is available now :)

* so I invented a word, what of it? ;)

All This Could End @ Text Publishing

Thanks so much Text Publishing for my review copy

8 comments:

  1. Wonderful review Nomes. I'll have to pick this up somewhere :)

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  2. I'm really excited to read this one. It sounds great!

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  3. Ohh, this sounds so great. The premise is what gets me, but the bank robbing plus it's a character-driven story? Mmm, I like.

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  4. Gorgeous review Nomes!

    I agree with everything you said! There was just something about this that I completely adored.

    I am so glad you loved this too. :)

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  5. Nomes this review is absolutely gorgeous! And seriously how come you guys always get the best books? I will have to move to Australia one day for sure. This book sounds like something that I would love, plus the fact that you loved it too, makes me even more eager to get a copy! :)

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  6. I cannot wait to read this- I only heard about it a week or so ago and am so in love with the premise! Steph writes beautiful and has such beautiful and intriguing plots! Excellent review, Nomes- I hope I love it as much as you did!

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  8. Love that you invented a word for this review, it is a brilliant book and Text do publish some of the BEST books!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the commenty love :)

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