Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

Pages: 202
Publisher: Text Publishing
Published: June 27th, 2011
IBSN: 9781921758300

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.

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.

Mim's story is sweet and raw, her character likeable in its flaws, and her development and change of heart realistic and gradual. Her story is in equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and wholly touching.

Mim (short for Jemima) doesn't want to associate herself with the deplorable town she lives in, or the people in it. She just wants to get out. She has volumes and volumes of Lonely Planet travel guides read and reread. She's set herself rules to live by to help her get out, but now she's making new friends and delivering suspicious packages for her mother and her rules are slowly being broken.

Mim was a lovely character to read about, even if lovely isn't the word I'd use to describe her. Seeing her begin to contradict herself and realise her truths aren't truths at all and develop was inspiring, and the way she handled the story's gritty romance at the end at odds to how she introduced it perfectly showed how she'd changed.

On gritty romance, I absolutely loved that part of this book -- the way (spoilers ahead!) she was empowered by rejecting the boy who jerked her around even after she pined for him for so long. I always lament about how the girls so many YA relationships swoon over guys who don't deserve it, and I adore how Mim stood up for herself in this one.

Vikki Wakefield's debut was written in beautifully spare prose that easily evoked emotion from the reader. All of Mim's emotions were so clearly and accurately written that they seemed to pool on the page and sticky our hands. Her narration was so honest and her feelings so raw that I began to feel personally acquainted with her.

Mim's story was a short, sweet, and completely gorgeous one. An Aussie debut from a promising writer.

I give All I Ever Wanted a 5 out of 5.