Just My Opinion's Reviews > All Things Different

All Things Different by Shawn Underhill
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's review
Aug 07, 2012

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

Innocent’s face a devastating past in a coming of age story! Charming, witty and full of surprises.

New Hampshire is known for some pretty famous writers; both old and new. Long ago, we (in NH) had poetry by Robert Frost and more recently thrillers like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Lately, however, it appears New Hampshire’s indie self-published authors are taking the world by storm. Jessica Park has reached epic proportions with her best-seller Flat-Out Love, and now we are introduced to Shawn Underhill with All Things Different. Mr. Underhill graciously sent me a copy of his novel for review and I am so thankful he did as I was utterly shocked by its’ polish and wit. This is an incredibly charming “coming of age” tale.

All Things Different is completely different than the books I’ve been reading lately for many reasons. Often times you will read a book driven by descriptive pages that overwhelms you and is just too much depiction. This novel was so eloquent you could actually feel, smell and taste the scenes playing out before you. It stayed very close to that fine line of being too much narrative, but never once crossed over. The scenes are so well defined you experience the book rather than read it. The environment came alive for me through the authors phrasing of sights, smells and sounds alone. I could actually taste the bread and soup served up for dinner, hear the Loons calling in the background and feel the pine needles crunching underfoot. While the book is heavy on descriptions, the story is very well thought out and each character has a role to play in the way it develops.

The characters themselves are immediately endearing. Jake is very independent and seemingly straight forward. His life has been laid out in a way he is comfortable with and his expectations are pretty simple. He is very innocent to the ways of the world outside his sheltered existence. He and his father have a routine they live by and a relationship which is truly incredible. Enter the young Sara. Full of life and love, yet devastated by a treacherous past which should have destroyed her. She turns Jake’s world upside down with her past and her sometimes spastic tendencies. Rather than being whiny and emotionally unavailable though, you watch as she evolves into a very strong and independent person of her own with the encouragement and love of Jake and his father. You experience a ride where every character changes and develops independently yet they all face challenges together as a “family”. There are some deeply emotional scenes which will take your breath away but are mixed with light-hearted moments where you find yourself chuckling and grinning in entertainment. It’s a fantastic blend to a heavily dramatic story.

The story being so heavy on descriptives make the scenes between characters so refreshing and sometimes emotionally overwhelming-but in a very good way. By the second chapter, I was completely vested in this book and couldn’t seem to put it down. The backdrop of a New Hampshire lake and all the beauty and peace which surrounds it is simply breathtaking. While I would classify this as a drama, there is also an underlying love story which is unique in its own ways-I won’t explain further as you really have to experience it yourself to understand. I will say it’s not at all typical but very compelling and leave it at that.

Overall, this book was fabulous. When I finished it, I was left with my mouth hanging open by events I hadn’t expected, yet still feeling fully satisfied with how the story comes full circle and completes itself. Very well written, researched and thought out. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the mood for a drama you won’t be able to put down until you’ve read through to the end. I can’t wait to see what else Shawn Underhill has coming!
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