Yay June! A beautiful time of year for weather and for books! Dive into these brand new novels and get your summer started right!
All of Me
by Chris Baron
Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother's paintings and sculptures. Ari's bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on "sales" trips.
Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he's overweight, but he can't tell his parents—they're simply not around enough to listen.
After an upsetting incident, Ari's mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents' marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.
June 11th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi, I’m Chris Baron, I live in CA now, but I grew up in NYC. MY middle School years had a huge impact on me! I lived in San Francisco at the time, so my debut novel, ALL OF ME, is Set in San Francisco, it is a novel in verse about Ari Rosensweig, an overweight seventh grade boy who loves cryptozoology and role-playing games. Ari is tired of being bullied and letting his weight define him. His parents’ marriage is struggling. They are too busy to focus on his life, much less help him with his already late bar mitzvah, and things take a turn for the worse. Ari’s mother, a painter and sculptor, decides to open an old gallery at the beach that summer. She puts him on a diet, and with the help of some unexpected friends, he tries to make a change physically, but that’s only the beginning of their adventures and the real change that comes.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I think the most surprising thing, and also the happiest thing has been finding community. I was warned early on to avoid comparison as much a possible. So I think I had my head down quite a bit--but when I looked up, I found so many great people. I have been really delighted to be a part part of Novel Nineteens, Rena’s Renegades, the #JPST, as well as meeting so many Teachers and Librarians. I am an advocate of community, and this has been an excellent and surprising part of the debut journey. I also discovered that stress levels are unbearably high, so it has been super helpful to work out a lot and look for roly polys with my kids.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Sofiya! I am so excited for your book. I think since we are agent siblings I have been one of your longest running fans! I can’t wait for Anya!
(Aw, thanks Chris! ^_^ )
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me two years to write the book--multiple iterations--80k words to start. I am not sure what I would do with my critique partners.
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
I really like that Ari, the main character wants to be a naturalist/cryptozoologist. There were A LOT of poems about cryptids in the story that never made it in :( Maybe that will be another book?
What was the hardest scene to write?
This book had many scenes that were difficult to write. Two come to mind. There was once scene with arguing parents that was very close to my own experience. There was another scene about a bullying incident on the bike path--the poem is physical, but I think it describes the internal thought process of what happens when one is bullied. That was brutal to write/live through.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Write. Do the work. More than anything else, writing has been the joy and the fuel that keep me going. It’s easy to get caught up in all the non-writing--and of course--find community. No one should do it alone.
Describe your writing space.
I want to say that my writing space is a calm bay window overlooking a rushing stream through a beech forest. It’s much more like a desk tucked in to a small alcove with an old computer. Lego mines surround me, and at any moment the word, “DAD” can be heard. I wouldn't trade it though.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
So thankful for the author friends I have made this year! Gillain McDunn, Josh Levy, Cory Campbell Leonardo, Jessica Kramer, Naomi Milliner, Nicole Panteleakos, Rajani Larocca, and so many more. I think the greatest help has been motivating one another to write and having a forum for honest and sometimes tough questions and situations.
Share a picture with us!
Thanks for interviewing, Chris! This book is so heartfelt and lovely, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to buy it on 6/11/19!