Saturday, July 16, 2011

All I Ever Wanted by Vicki Wakefield

Mim knows what she wants, and where she wants to go—anywhere but home, stuck in the suburbs with her mother who won’t get off the couch, and two brothers in prison.
She’s set herself rules to live by, but she’s starting to break them.
Now Mim has to retrieve a lost package for her mother. Does this make her a drug runner? Why is a monster dog called Gargoyle hidden in the back shed? And Jordan, the boy she sent Valentines to for years, why is he now suddenly a creep? How come there’s a huge gap between her and her best friend, Tahnee? And who is the mysterious girl next door who moans at night?
Over the nine days before her seventeenth birthday, Mim’s life turns upside down. She has problems, and she’s determined to solve them herself. But in the end, she works out who her people are, and the same things look entirely different.(from publishers site)

All I Ever Wanted is blurbed by two of my all-time fave Aussie YA authors:

‘One of the most memorable YA books I’ve ever read. Original, real, startling and beautiful.’ Cath Crowley (Graffiti Moon) 
‘In a tarnished world, Mim is tough and sweet and true. Utterly charming’ Fiona Wood (Six Impossible Things).

Okay, I nearly feel like my work here as a reader/reviewer is done as I fully (crazily) endorse both those statements.

All I Ever Wanted captivated me from the first few pages. I adore Mim, she’s tough and brave and bold despite her fears and failures. She’s smart and funny and fierce and looking at her world through her eyes was just gorgeous. She has strong convictions and secret dreams and is spirited in that Josie Alibrandi way (Melina Marchetta).

The prose in this book (!)

[pauses for a moment]

Absolutely, genius-like, divine.

I am billing it as a mix between Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon and Leanne Hall’s This Is Shyness (both amazing-brilliant-wow books to be blended up with).

It is, in some ways, a gritty read but without it feeling gritty. It’s like a diamond in the rough kind of read ~ all tough on the outside but absolutely shining and beautiful at its core.

I love books like this: original, unpredictable, delightfully strange, completely real and shining with hope. It felt utterly Australian. The characters are unabashedly flawed and all the more lovable for it.

I haven’t said much about the plot ~ honestly, I liked reading it having no idea what to expect from it ~ but for those of you who need more a teaser ~ here’s a blurb from author Vicki Wakefield talking about her teen experience that inspired Mim’s story:

As a teenager, I always had one leg dangling over the wrong side of the tracks. When I was seventeen I went to house-sit for a friend who was an unmarried teenage mother. It was a half-house in a lost street in a forgotten suburb – just like the book.

It wasn’t hard to dredge up memories of that month – I lived in a perpetual state of fear and desperation. I dared myself to stay there. During the day the street was deserted; at night it was alive and menacing and I was terrified. Law seemed to exist outside of that street, but by the end of the month I was braver, wiser and I’d changed my mind about some of the residents. The people who lived there didn’t have money or material things – but what they did have was pride, a sense of community and bucketloads of humanity. (taken from her author page @ Text)

I am sold on Wakefield’s debut and she has entered my ranks of hallowed Aussie quthors and auto-buy, must-reads.

And YES ~ I did reference Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood all in one review for this stunning debut :)

All I Ever Wanted has been longlisted for the inky's (wooT!) 
Fingers crossed it will make the cut into the short list :)

Go forth and read it ;)

More reviews:

All I Ever Wanted @ Text Publishing (including preview of first chapter)


  1. Great review! I have such high expectations for this book after all these fabulous reviews. I'm so anxious to read this that when it arrives I think I'll haven't to snatch it from the postman and start it on the spot!

  2. Beautiful review Nomes! So glad you loved this one too. How do Aussie YA authors keep raising the (already very high) bar?! Starting to think there's something in the water...

    I think this one will be on the short list for sure :)

  3. oh, that just sounds brilliant. i'm going to look for it at dymocks, you've got me sold.

  4. i've seen this on goodreads and was intrigued.
    the covers gorgeous and its by an Aussie (yay!)
    going by your wonderful review i will be searching for this in bookstores :)

  5. Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood and a positive review from you? SOLD!

  6. I NEED THIS :o And I don't know when i'll forgive you for featuring all these aussie books that I can't get my greedy little hands on :p Fantastic review as always~ plus, you used an exclamation mark!!! =)

  7. Stumbled across this on Goodreads once and now you've made me really want to read it! Thanks for the review :).

  8. This sounds gorgeous. I'm looking forward to seeing Wakefield talk at the state library in August.

  9. Ohhhh Nomes, I just read this the other week and loved it too!!!

  10. This sounds brilliant. Added on goodreads and the mental, ever-growing list of "books I reallyreallyREALLY want right now." Thanks for the review and for putting this book on my radar! :)

  11. Wonderful review. I am definitely going to go forth and read this :)

  12. What a lovely review Nomes! I'm getting the vibe that you really liked this one ;)

    I might have to steal Ros' copy of this and check it out!

  13. A mix between Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon and Leanne Hall’s This Is Shyness?! Wow! I haven't read either, but I am dying to do so. Now I have to add All I Ever Wanted to my list too.

    Fantastic review, Nomes! Your reviews always expand my TBR further.

  14. I'm really looking forward to this one Nomes! Thanks for the review :)

    My attention was also grabbed by the quotes from Cath and Fiona <3

  15. I'm really coming around to contemp YA fiction - especially the aussie stuff and especially if you've recommended it - they're always good :-) Another for the list!

  16. wow I've not even heard of this one before but I think I need it after reading your review! thank you for letting us know about it! :D

  17. And of course it's not available internationally. I swear you Aussies get all the good stuff. *grumble, sniffle, teary-eyed*

  18. Divine prose and a reference to Marchetta. I'm sold.

  19. phew! you liked it :).

    it was great wasn't it?!

  20. Great review! This book sounds so, so lovely, and thank you for sharing those two paragraphs from the author!

  21. Yet another awesome-sounding Aussie YA book! The premise seems really different and quirky, and though I haven't read either Graffiti Moon or This is Shyness I know you recommend them so I'm sure a cross between them must be good :D *longs after Aussie YA books and wishes they were available internationally*

  22. Such a fabulous review Nomes. You always have me eager for new reads. I loved everything about the review, you have me excited now!!

  23. Lovely review, Nomes. I am so excited to read this--everything about it seems to hit my sweet spots from the cover on down to the the plot, names, and comparative authors.

    Though I AM a little peeved we can't get this least not yet. Maybe some amazing person could, you know... *nudge**nudge**exaggerated wink*

  24. Great, great review! You have just made me wish that I lived in lovely Aussie so I could soak up some of the great writing wisdom that just seems to poor from a hidden spring somewhere out there.

    This book sounds like a book I could really relate to. Something that I will cherish. Thanks for letting us know about it. Marking it on the goodreads :)

    ♥ Trish

  25. Oooh, I need to stop reading your reviews... I'm pretty sure my TBR list has doubled!

    Great review, this songs fantastic. I love the cover aswell, it's stunning!

  26. You write such inspiring reviews that I my TBR pile grows with each one! This sounds like a book not to be missed. Thank you for another great review.


Thanks for the commenty love :)