Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Everything I Was

Everything I Was

Corinne Demas
For ages 12 and up
Lerner Books, 2011   ISBN: 978-0761373032

Irene has lived a charmed life. Thanks to her father’s ability to make lots of money, she has lived in a gorgeous apartment, has gone to an exclusive school, and has enjoyed numerous luxurious vacations. Then her father’s company starts to “downsize.” Irene’s mother is confident that her husband’s job is safe, but it isn’t. Irene’s mother thinks that they can continue to have the lifestyle that she has grown accustomed to, and for a while she is able fool herself into believing that all is well. Over time though, it becomes clear that all is not well. Irene’s parents, in particular her mother, have been living beyond their means, and they have no money saved. In fact, they have debts that they cannot pay off.

Eventually the truth cannot be hidden any longer. Irene’s parents sell off what they can and then they leave the city, moving in with Irene’s grandfather. Irene and her father don’t mind living on Grandpa’s farm, and they soon settle in. In fact, both of them start enjoying their slower and gentler lifestyle. Irene makes friends with some kids in the nearby town, and she tentatively begins to toy with the idea that maybe it might be nice to stay in the country and not go back to the city at all. Irene’s mother hates the country though, and she is determined to get back to the city as soon as possible. She wants her old life back, and she doesn’t for one minute consider that Irene might not feel the same way.

Finding the courage to speak out isn’t always easy, especially when the people around you are strong minded and have their own agenda. In this simple yet powerful story, readers will see how one teenage girl searches for what is right for her, and how she struggles to have some control over her life.