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All of Me by Chris Baron
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it was amazing

I had been eyeing this book on Twitter for quite some time and I finally worked up the courage to ask the author for an ARC to read, review and share with #LitReviewCrew. I love novels in verse, as I am always amazed how such rich stories can be told with so few words. I was also drawn to the book because, like me, the main character is Jewish. There are so few realistic fiction books for the middle grade reader with a Jewish protagonist. Additionally, the book appealed to me because it addresses an issue I have seldom seen in middle grade fiction- a male character’s struggle with his weight and body image.

ALL OF ME by Chris Baron was everything I’d hoped it to be and much, much more. Ari’s story not only touched my heart, but reached out, grabbed it, broke it to pieces and made it whole again. What did I love most about it? It’s hard to say. Perhaps it was the author’s ability to find just the right words to convey both heartache and hope. Maybe it was that the main character’s story was both unique and relatable at the same time. Or perhaps it was the positive message the author conveyed through Ari’s journey to accept himself and discover who he truly is. Whatever the reason, this book will stay in my heart and in my classroom library for a long, long time.

ALL OF ME had so many different layers in it, that almost every middle grade reader could relate to a certain aspect of the story. The main character, Ari, like many teenagers, faces challenges and ups and downs. An only child, Ari moves from New York to California with his two parents. Both parents are busy with work and although they love Ari, don’t give him the attention he wants and needs. While his parents spend less and less time with each other and with him, Ari struggles with his weight, teasing and bullying. He also makes true friends too. All of this happens as Ari prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage when a boy becomes a man by reading from the Torah for the first time. ALL OF ME by Chris Baron touches upon many topics that middle grade readers can relate to- friendships, crushes, body image, family relationships, bullying, and self discovery and acceptance. Ari’s story is one that captures the struggles and the strength of a young teenager. Inspiring and hopeful, ALL OF ME by Chris Baron is sure to touch the hearts of all who read it.
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Reading Progress

February 17, 2019 – Shelved
February 17, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 4, 2019 – Started Reading
April 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

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