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You Are the Everything


You Are the Everything

From Karen Rivers, the author who brought readers the compelling and complex novels BEFORE WE GO EXTINCT, THE GIRL IN THE WELL IS ME and LOVE, ISH into the young adult and children’s book worlds, comes a new mind-twisting story of survival in YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING.

Elyse Schmidt was on the trip of a lifetime as her high school band was selected to go to a competition in Paris. She gets to spend time in the most romantic city in the world with her best friend Kath and her crush Josh Harris. But things don’t turn out as rosy as Elyse had hoped when the weather in Paris is gloomy, she gets into a huge fight with Kath and, on the trip home, their plane crashes.

"Karen Rivers does an amazing job of getting inside the mind of a teenager who is battling two sides of herself."

Elyse has always thought about death, drawing comics about strange ways people have died (death by taking selfies in weird spots is a leading cause) and always thinking she has some sort of strange malady, but she never expected to survive. When their plane goes down, Elyse and her crush Josh Harris are the only survivors. As the sole survivors, they are bound together on a deep level, battling the media’s attempts to make them celebrities and getting closer to each other. Together the two try to figure out how to live with the physical and emotional scars of the tragedy, and how to live without the people they lost.

YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING dives into topics of grief, loss and guilt. Elyse must cope with the guilt she feels as a survivor and her grief over losing her best friend and parts of herself. Karen Rivers does an amazing job of getting inside the mind of a teenager who is battling two sides of herself. She explores teenage familial and romantic relationships, as well as a teenager’s relationship with their self.

Told in second person point of view, Elyse is portrayed as a unique character with many quirks and flaws. Though Elyse becomes idolized by the media and by her boyfriend, Rivers still makes her flaws apparent and doesn’t try to mask her quirks by grief or romance. Many of the side characters in this novel including Josh Harris, Kath and the members of Elyse’s class are given unique voices as well. Rivers expertly uses dialogue to push the plot forward. Although stories are not often told in second person, Karen Rivers manages to do it really well, still giving readers insight into the minds of the characters and leaving them astounded with the conclusion of the story.

YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING is such a powerful tale of emotional and physical loss, as well as mental health and relationships. Readers who enjoyed GOODBYE DAYS by Jeff Zentner, WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart, or EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE by Katrina Leno will love the tragic and twisting tale of Elyse in YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING.

Reviewed by Ellie T., Teen Board Member on October 30, 2018

You Are the Everything
by Karen Rivers