Lacey Louwagie's Reviews > Everything is Fine.

Everything is Fine. by Ann Dee Ellis
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Jun 18, 2010

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bookshelves: youngadult
Read from June 18 to 29, 2010

Maybe I've just read too many young adult "problem novels," but this book didn't excite me. It centers on the relationship Mazzy has with those around her -- especially her mother -- in the aftermath of her younger sister's death. The subject matter is fairly original, the writing beautiful in places, and the characters well-defined. Mazzy feels like a real adolescent girl who has lived through and is trying to make sense of trauma. The style is very reminiscent of Lyn Rae Perkins work, except with a bit more plot. But like LRP, this book has the strange feel of being set "in the past" -- in the world where the author was a young adult, and not in the world of today's young adults. There's no mention of the Internet or cell phones anywhere. Unlike LRP, though, Ann Dee Ellis doesn't make a point of setting the book in a previous time, making me think it's supposed to be current -- it just doesn't quite feel that way.

Mazzy's mother was an artist before she fell into her grief-stricken depression, and Mazzy explores art throughout the book as she copes with the challenges in her life. Since I listened to the audio book, I only heard the names of her pieces of art. I was excited to look in the printed book to see them -- but was disappointed that the printed book only has their names and generic images of crayons or paint smears or whatever. I think the interjection of Mazzy's actual artwork could have really enriched this book. As it was, it was a book in which I could see a lot of literary merit, but which didn't do a whole lot for me in spite of that.
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