Set-up: Aurora (“Roar”) lives on an organic farm in a small town with her father. She misses city life and misses her mother, but she finds solace in her photography, snapping photos and developing them in her own garden shed-turned darkroom.
Main character’s goal: Roar’s goal isn’t simple like “run away to find missing aunt” or “defeat the scariest wizard of all time and save the world.” This is more of a coming-of-age story. Roar just wants to take photographs and be happy, at first. Then she witnesses a car accident that sets off a chain of events threatening not only her way of life, but the entire practice of hiring immigrant farmworkers in California. Roar also meets a boy named Forest, and her goals start to change.
My reaction: Something has gotta be said for reading a summer-set romance in November. I may have thawed out a little. Get this: “The first apricot I pluck off the tree smells of roses and sits heavy in my hand” (p 34). Ahhh.
Also, I can’t help but be in awe of an author who moved from a record-obsessed girl in Berkeley, to an organic farmer’s daughter who is watching – and participating – in a setting that involves and revolves around contemporary immigration issues. Talk about high stakes, with the balance of farming practices, the justice system, and the scorching anger of some small-town, small-minded farmers (Note: small-town and small-minded are not always the same thing!).
Of interest to writers: (With very mild spoiler!) The romance angle was handled in a way that surprised me – namely, there wasn’t a lot of conflict. I kept waiting for a fight, or a shameful secret, or some kind of revelation that put everything into question, and…no. Yet there is still tension, even without that conflict. How is it done? I’ll leave that for you to discover, as I’m worried I gave away too much as it is.
As with The Vinyl Princess, this one has a rather lengthy resolution. I was not bothered in the slightest because it was such a pleasant world to be in! Sometimes we’re rushed through resolutions, when maybe we could slow down a little and enjoy them, like fine desserts.
Back to the book review!
Bottom line: This book was a great place to hang out in, and Roar’s point of view was engaging. I feel like I made some friends in this book. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Note: the scheduled release is December 21st, so you’ve got something to look forward to – put it on your wish lists!
For Prinz’s site on All You Get Is Me, click here.
You can also visit Yvonne Prinz’s Vinyl Princess website by clicking here.