Everything I Was
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Everything I Was

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3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  83 reviews
"My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mo...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Carolrhoda Books (first published August 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 564)
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Morgan F
I think that the marketing of this book is extremely misleading. It looks like a young adult book, with the intense, older-looking model on the front cover, and the synopsis does not mention that Irene is only 13. Once you open up the book, however, it is clear that Irene is young. I would not have read this book if I knew Irene's intended age, because realistic middle-grade fiction does not interest me. This book is just another example of that.

Everything I Was is about loneliness and figuring...more
Emily
I'd give this book 3 and half stars if I could, but there were enough things I really liked about it to bump it up instead of down. Thirteen-year-old Irene lives in NYC but is about to have to leave. Her dad lost his job and they can no longer afford their penthouse apartment. She and her parents move in with her grandfather who raises plants in his nursery in upstate NY. Though it sounds like this could be a "poor little rich girl" story, it's much more about Irene figuring out what she wants a...more
Sheila


A family in crisis; a teen protagonist who’s real, normal, honest and interesting; a real-world drama with genuine characters, powerful emotions, and the sweet touch of hope—what more could a reader ask for? Privileged Irene moves out of town to stay at her grandfather’s farm while Dad tries to find a job and Mom tries to hold onto her way of life. But what about Irene’s way of life? Will she end up as a scholarship girl, a fish out of water amongst her friends? Or will she carve a new life for...more
Jamie
When Irene's father is "downsized" the family has to move to the country with her paternal grandfather. Thus begins this gentle story about a girl figuring out her parents, what's important, and the confusion of life. Oh, and first love.
Laura Salas
Loved this novel! Irene and her entire family--parents, grandfather, half-sister Jenna--are all so particular and so real. I totally empathized with Irene and her lack of any say in the family decisions. And her feeling of not fitting in at all. Her mother is so unlike her, especially as the summer continues and Irene grows happier and sees how other families work.

I tend to like very plot-driven novels, and the emphasis here is on character and growth and change. But I couldn't put the book down...more
Trimble
Life as she knows it is about to change completely for 13-year-old Irene. While most teenagers have to deal with the frustration of having little control of their lives, Irene has even less control than usual as some major life changes come about for her. Irene’s frustrations continue with what she anticipates will be a boring summer with little to do and no friends around. Then things start to look up for Irene.

The author does a great job of developing the characters which made it easy to relat...more
Kate
This was a really good read. It was fairly short (I plowed through it in a few hours) and written in a way that made it really flow off the page. Like many YA books, this is a coming of age story mixed with a little bit of fish-out of water drama. What I really liked was that it dealt with real issues. At its heart is Irene a young girl whose family lost everything when her father lost his job. With nowhere else to turn they head to her grandfather’s farm upstate.

I kind of love this family. Esp...more
Page (One Book At A Time)
This wasn't what I was expecting. The cover and description are misleading. I was thinking an older lead character with the typical teenager drama. Instead, I got a 13 year-old girl on the brink of that drama.

I instantly liked Irene. For most of the book she's feels older than her age. She's got her typical young teenage behavior. She's worried about leaving her friends and the stigma she's afraid will come with people finding out they have no money. She's nervous about spending a summer in the...more
Phoebe
Jul 15, 2011 Phoebe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Deborah, Telesa, Cheryl
Aside from the creepy cover, this is a masterful entry in the realistic fiction genre. Demas accurately and sensitively voices a 13-year-old girl, whose family's finances are radically altered after her father loses his VP job. The family moves from Manhattan to a farm out in the country, where Irene's grandfather runs a plant nursery. Irene finds herself almost instantly enchanted by her new surroundings, comforted by things like helping her grandfather pot new plants, riding her bike, and maki...more
Bookworm1858
Everything I Was by Corinne Demas
Carolrhoda LAB, 2011
209 pages
MG; Contemporary
3.5/5 stars

Source: Received a free egalley via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Based on the cover, I thought this was a horror novel about some teenage sexpot terrorizing a town. That is NOT correct at all. First the main character is 13, making this an appropriate middle-grade novel. Second the novel is more about family, friendship, and first love in a pretty sweet way.

Irene leads a very privileged life wi...more
Nina
I thought that the narrator of this story would be a young Blair Waldorf who couldn’t live without her blackberry, designer clothes and rich lifestyle. Then meeting this wonderful family everything changes and she would be happy with the little she has. I kind of was true about the last part, but the first not so much.

Irene is a 13 year old girl and I could tell by the way she acted that she was indeed very young. She is very quiet and doesn’t talk much. She’s very shy. The author says in her st...more
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Note: I read this via NetGalley - thanks to the publishers for making it available to me for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Irene's family have always been well off. Living in an Upper West Side Penthouse, she's used to attending an all-girls prep school and taking lavish family vacations. So when her father suddenly loses her job and they have to move to the countryside to live with her grandfather, how will she cope?

I spent most of the time when I was reading Everything I Was wa...more
Emma
I picked up this book because the cover was so intriguing to me. An older girl, who looks like she is going to drown in her own sorrows, sigh. Sounds wonderful, right? I like covers, and this is one case where the cover betrayed me.


Things I liked: There was very little in this that I enjoyed and I think it's being targeted for the wrong audience. I guess what I liked best was the whole concept of this book. As a kid who moved around alot, I can relate to the feelings of displacement and confusi...more
Karen
EVERYTHING I WAS by Corinne Demas has me perplexed. The book is publicized as a book for middle grade or young adults and yet THIS blogging grandmother was captivated from the beginning pages. EVERYTHING I WAS is an engrossing book centered around the main character, Irene, who is an appealing and sincere thirteen-year-old girl. Drawn from our current unpredictable economic times, Irene feels an unsettling loss of control over everything in her life as her father’s company has downsized and he h...more
Madigan McGillicuddy
Irene is thrown for a loop when her father loses his high-paying job and, unable to keep up with their fast-paced Manhattan lifestyle, her family is forced to sell their penthouse and move up north to stay with her paternal grandfather for the summer at his farm in up-state New York.

I was surprised when I started reading this to find that the main character is only thirteen. The girl on the cover looks like she's seventeen, going on twenty-five. The fact that the protagonist is so young makes t...more
Ivy
From an extravagant living to a less extravagant living, Irene’s lifestyle was about to change. With her father’s high position job “downsized,” and her mother’s spending, her family had to leave their current life and move. Living in a penthouse, they downsized to moving back to her grandfather’s farm to figure things out. Irene loved her grandfather and her grandfather’s farm, but her mother, not so much. What could possibly change in Irene’s life?

I thought this book was so-so good. I liked it...more
Colleen
Everything I was is a quiet novel, but a very appropriate one for young teens coming of age today in an economic climate that is very uncertain. Everything I Was centers on Irene, who at the beginning of the novel is forced to leave her posh New York City apartment at the end of her school year. Her father has lost his job, and as a result Irene and her parents will be staying with her grandfather for the summer until the family can get back on their feet and her father can try to find another j...more
Jodi Papazian
*Sigh* I am still not sure what to make of Everything I Was. I will say this - it was nothing what I was expecting. Based on the brief description of the story, Irene (our main character) must give up her life of NYC luxury after her father loses her job. Her and her family pack it up to live on her grandfather's farm in upstate NY. Based on that synopsis, I was expecting a light, humorous read about how a teen girl goes from stilettos to Crocs. Based on the cover (I know, I know, don't judge a...more
Jamie Kline
My opinion: This book centers around 13 year old Irene. She lives in a nice penthouse, has friends, attends a private school. But then her father loses his job and they are forced to live in the country with her grandfather until they can get back on their feet. Even though she's devastated by the turn of events, she tries to make the best of her situation and although she misses her friends and her old life, she loves her grandfather and the farm. After awhile she meets the Fox family, who have...more
Magan (Rather Be Reading)


Overall, this book was really sweet and innocent. Irene is a thirteen year old girl, whose whole life changes when her dad loses his Vice-President job for a large company. Because of her parents poor financial decisions, they lose their NY penthouse and many of their belongings. They leave the city at the end of Irene's school year and move in with her grandfather in the country.

As this was something many people in our country were faced with trough the recession, I was anxious to see the scen...more
-k The Lady Critic
I was more than happy to have the opportunity to read this via netGalley. I think that I have found a new love with that website.

I went into this book not quite knowing what to expect. The cover suggests something more dangerous and haunting than a realistic story about a thirteen year old girl, but the summary offered stated something different than was visually represented. So, since I thought that the cover was beyond gorgeous, I took a chance on it.

This was a lovely book about the reality th...more
Karen Ball
Review copy from Lerner Publishing/Carolrhoda Books
Irene has grown up in a posh Upper West Side apartment in New York City, with a mother who spends her days shopping and spending money, and a father with a high level corporate VP job. When her father loses his job and has trouble finding work, they lose the elegant apartment and have to go live with Irene's grandfather on his upstate farm. As her father battles depression and rejection, and her glamour-obsessed mother pretends that everything i...more
Vanessa Taylir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia
Honestly, this book wasn't what I was expecting. When reading the synopsis from Goodreads, I expected to be reading about a spoiled rich girl turned average teen. This wasn't the case at all. I expected Irene to be upset about not being able to shop and have the best of everything. Nope. She was upset about losing her things from her room (which were put into storage), but that seemed to be more because they belonged to her and felt like home. When it was suggested that she return to her expensi...more
SarahD
*THANKS TO NETGALLEY

Everthing I Was, I sincerely like more than I expected. I identify a lot with Irene, I think it is the fact that I did.

One of the things I love about this book is that makes you realize about the things you have, and the questions in the book you end up making them yourself

Corinne tells the story of a particular way, does not tell you every detail, so that reading is not boring or heavy. I like Irene, is not as mature as expected, but it is normal for a teenager, I understan...more
Christie Brown
This was pretty good. I would have given it a 3.5 had I been given the option. I liked the plot. Irene's father has recently lost his job and is having trouble landing a new one. Irene and her parents move from the big city to live with her paternal grandfather in the country until her father can get back on his feet. Irene's mother is pretty much living in denial and wants to continue spending money the way she always has--she wants to give the impression that they are still as rich as they eve...more
Chrissy
(I read EVERYTHING I WAS via NetGalley)

EVERYTHING I WAS is the story of Irene, a young teenage girl accustomed to a lavish Upper West Side penthouse kind of life who is suddenly relocated to a small town farm to live with her grandfather after her father loses his job. In her new home, Irene meets a sweet family (with lots of kids) and falls in love with a new lifestyle revolving around togetherness and friendship rather than material items.

The narrator's voice feels very young and very innocent...more
Karla Nellenbach
After reading EVERYTHING I WAS in one sitting, I am left pondering how I felt about this book. Corinne Demas' talent as a writer is unquestionable. She has a way of reeling the reader in from the very first sentence, and with the economic straits that many families are facing today, this premise is one that I think many young readers can relate to.



But, I find that I must emphasize the "young reader" part of that sentence, as this is more middle grade than young adult. By the book cover, I walke...more
Carol
Jul 29, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This is a great little book; my only complaint is that there should have been more of it. But to be honest with you, I need to read slim volumes once in a while to get a rest from reading books that are 400 or more pages. This book fit the bill.

The writing is simple and straight forward and you could easily figure out what all the characters were thinking. The story was very easy to follow and even though this book may be considered YA but I am a baby boomer and I enjoyed it.

Irene is pre-teen wh...more
Mari

Irene lives in a lavish penthouse in the city with her mom and dad. She attends a private school and has everything she needs provided for her. When her father lost his job and couldn't immediately find a new one, they had to leave the city to stay with her grandfather in the countryside.

I saw the cover of this book and was immediately interested. At first I thought that the MC was a bit older and was surprised to find out she was only 13. That didn't dissuade me from reading though. I thought...more
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Corinne Demas is Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and a fiction editor of the Massachusetts Review. She has a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

She is the award-winning author of thirty books, including five novels, two collections of short stories, a memoir, and numerous books for children.


More about Corinne Demas...
The Writing Circle Always In Trouble Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway  Pirates Go to School Saying Goodbye to Lulu

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