Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Pub. Date: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: Hardcover
240 pages

Skye spends summer after summer hoping to fall in love and find a life changing connection. Enter Seth. Spending only a few days together before Seth has to leave for college, the two talk and connect in the way that Skye has always hoped for. But, when Seth leaves Sea Bright before they have a chance to exchange contact information, Skye is left wondering what happened. The novel takes place over the next two years of Skye and Seth’s lives, and is told through their alternating perspectives.

By the time I finished All I Need, I left with – and I hate to say it - a feeling of ‘so what’. I have enjoyed other books by Colasanti, but I found the relationship between Seth and Skye to be somewhat immature, and not authentic, which was especially disappointing considering the novel is entirely character and relationship driven. From their first interaction, through the end of the novel, I did not find that the characters voices reflected typical teens. They talk philosophical, and unrealistically wise beyond their years, similar to
how the characters from Dawson’s Creek, were constantly criticized for not acting or sounding like real teens. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with the maturity of their voices, but I did not find that maturity was evident in other aspects of their characters, like their behavior. The way the two communicated, and the passive aggressive handling of some situations, I found to be very contrary to the mature, wise, philosophical way the characters frequently spoke.  The one example of mature behavior that I really appreciated was the fact that neither character waits around, pining for the other, during the year between their first encounters and their second.

I found myself constantly waiting for something to happen throughout the novel primarily because I didn’t believe the relationship tension. A great deal of time was spent waiting for Skye and Seth to reconnect, which every reader knows will happen eventually, and when the characters are dealing with relationship struggles, you never believe for even a second that they will breakup or not end up together at the end of the novel. I wanted more time to be spent displaying real connection between Skye and Seth, past their initial meeting, especially considering their connection was supposed to be the backbone of the story. As is, I didn’t really buy it. My biggest problem with the portrayal of Seth and Skye’s relationship was how one-sided the struggles and sacrifices seemed to be. Skye sacrifices a great college so that she can stay closer to Seth, whereas Seth stays very focused on his own future and doing things that will get him where he wants to be in the future. I would have appreciated a more two-sided representation of what it means to support a partner, and what it means to sacrifice for a relationship, considering their relationship is presented as this epitome of greatness. I also did not feel that Skye making a great deal of the sacrifices set a good example or sent a good message to readers.

Overall, I did not think that this novel was Colasanti’s best. The premise was definitely attractive, but I feel I got distracted and taken out of a cute relationship story because of how unbelievable I found certain aspects to be. The novel was not bad, and I don’t want my dislike of certain aspects to be misconstrued as though I completely hated the novel or it’s writing, but there were aspects that I just could not get behind. I will continue to look out for titles by Colasanti, because her stories are engaging and fun reads. This title just was not my favorite. 

Rating 4/10

** I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.