Book: All of You by Christina Lee, Penguin InterMix, On Sale September 17
Book Info: New Adult Contemporary Romance, ebook received for review via NetGalley, e-book exclusive
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
In this powerfully emotional debut New Adult novel, Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He’s irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.
Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.
When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.
Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.
So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.
I always come back to New Adult books when I need a little break from YA, and the synopsis of Christina Lee’s All Of You caught my eye. The two characters in All Of You both have their family challenges, with their mothers’ romantic choices doing a number on their lives. Avery and Bennett have opposite ways of dealing with the skeletons in their closets. They are damaged, and have a lot in common so can see through each other’s façade. All Of You is an addictive read that’s sweet and entertaining.
Nursing student Avery copes by not letting anyone get too close to her, preferring casual encounters only. Tattoo artist Bennett is waiting for real love before getting physical in a relationship. Avery sets her sights on Bennett, but Bennett is not willing to be just another one-night-stand. Can these two trust each other enough to take the next step?
Avery has a hard shell to crack. She’s built a wall around her, and even though on the outside she’s a fun party girl, it’s all just a coping mechanism. She is a good person, and works at a nursing home and bonds with one particular patient in her care. She also takes self-defense classes to make sure she’s nobody’s victim.
Bennett stole my heart as well as the book. He’s seen how bad relationship choices have hurt his family, and he’s not willing to settle. He wants the whole package, not just a physical relationship. This goes against Avery’s whole philosophy but it’s really sweet and rewarding to see their relationship evolve.
Avery and Bennett have a lot to overcome before they can let each other in, but each step along the way, from the small to the grand gesture warms your heart. I loved their “five words to describe” communication game in the book.
It’s refreshing that the book is not in dual pov, but all in Avery’s pov. It makes Bennett a little more of a mystery and his actions more surprising. I liked Lee’s spin on New Adult, and how she made this relationship so root-worthy. If I had five words to describe All Of You I’d say endearing, addictive, hot, satisfying, passionate. I’m looking forward to the companion book, Before You Break, about Avery’s friend Ella. If you are inclined to read NA, this book is a sweet choice.