Title: All of Me
Author: Chris Baron
Release Date: June 11, 2019
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.
What I Liked
A novel written in verse is something I wasn’t sure that I would like. But this year I’ve gotten to read so many great verse novels, this one among them. The story is heart-wrenching at times; I really felt for Ari and his struggles, especially the bullying about his weight and his religion. But he’s a character the reader can really root for, and he does his best to get himself out of several tough situations.
What I Would Have Liked to See
I’m sure the author left Lisa’s story for a reason, but I really wish I knew what happened to her.
The way Ari’s family loves him but also hurts him. This was a very realistic portrayal of how family can be well-meaning but still say or do the wrong thing. It’s a difficult topic to get right, and I really think the author nailed it.
Overweight teen Ari is bullied for his weight so he goes on a diet, but with the support of his friends, he comes to realize weight loss is not what he needs in order to be happy.