Boston's Reviews > All of Us with Wings

All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil
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did not like it
bookshelves: read-2019

How does a book that romanticizes pedophilia get through so many stages of writing and rewriting only to continue to be published?

- The "love interest" in this book is a 28 year old man. The main character is 17. Do not try to tell me there's nothing wrong with that. There's a lot wrong with it.
- Pedophilia is used as a plot device to make the "relationship" seem forbidden. It's not forbidden. It's predatory and not to mention very illegal.
- the main character is called "jailbait" at one point (again, how did this make it to the final copy?), it's disputed in one sentence of dialogue, and then the main character is called "jailbait" AGAIN about 75 pages later, which entirely erases the argument against using it.
- the "love interest" at one point makes a list of pros and cons as to why he should or shouldn't be with the mc. His most important con (as he states) is that he doesn't want to hurt his daughter. NOT that the girl he wants to have sex with is UNDERAGE. That's his second and less important con.
- not only does the main character voluntarily get into a predatory relationship, but she does it after she acknowledges that she was raped by a man her mom dated, who was, get this, in his late 20s.
- the only argument made for the relationship is that it's okay because "she's mature for her age". I don' think I have to spell this out, but that is NOT a good argument for dating a minor.
- The entire premise of this book is a subplot. It's not the main plot. The "relationship" is the main plot point. That being said, the events in the synopsis don't happen until 2/3 of the way into the book and don't happen to the degree that they're described on the flap of the book.

Overall, it's not a good look for an author to put a character into a predatory relationship, especially after said character has past trauma because of a predator. It's an even worse look to make it seem okay because "she's mature", which is often used to describe girls who have been raped by older men while they were young. This book should not be going into the hands of young, impressionable readers. At all.
I won't be talking about any other likes or dislikes with this book, because if you've gotten to the end of this review and choose to read it anyway, then that's on you.
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Reading Progress

June 26, 2019 – Started Reading
June 26, 2019 – Shelved
June 26, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
June 29, 2019 – Finished Reading
December 30, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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message 1: by Tate (new)

Tate Now that's what I call nasty!!! Thanks for warning me about this, tbh, ripped this mess from my tbr real fast


allie (rosynovels) yikes! Truly how does that get past so many people to go through to publication for a young adult audience? I was super into the synopsis but this is not okay—taking it off my tbr immediately


The Angry Lawn Gnome Good grief. And everyone else seems to love it. Close enough to pedophilia in my book, even though I guess it is technically ephebophilia, whatever. Will not read. Five town libraries in my local network have it on order, too. Wow.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Oh, no... Yeah, I got an unsolicited ARC of this one but thought the premise sounded good, so I was gonna check it out. I'm definitely not now, though. Thank you for the thorough review :/


message 5: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie  Brinkman Thank you! Finally someone agrees with me. I powered through this one but it was a definite struggle.


message 6: by Harker (new) - added it

Harker Yiiikes. The premise sounded so good but NOT with that junk in it. Thank you for your review!


☽ Kαƚιҽ Ugh thank you for the warning I will be passing on this one definitely will not read


message 8: by ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

ari i completely agree with everything said here about how gross the relationship was, however it isn't pedophilia (which is about children pre-puberty - usually 13 or younger) - even though it is predatory & statutory rape. i'm a survivor of pedophilia myself and it can be hurtful to see people call things that isn't pedophilia when it isn't.

other than that though, i agree with everything you've said here. when i read my arc i was shocked at how tone-deaf the whole thing was about how rightfully demonising one type of abuse but then completely excusing the minor/adult relationship despite it being statutory rape. it was honestly beyond me. i didn't understand how the two were handled so differently in the one book as though her maturity somehow excuses it such a creepy relationship.


Mara YA Mood Reader Ugh exactly how I felt about “My Torin” by K Webster. It also romanticizes pedophelia and even rape and the ratings are so high. I’m like???


message 10: by Laura Cooper (new)

Laura Cooper How disappointing! This book sounded promising. But yep, very glad your review is going to save me some money!


Mara YA Mood Reader Which reminds me I found out recently through my brother who lives in Nevada that the age of consent is only 16????!!! He told me that his twin daughters, my nieces, are Both dating guys over age 18 and he couldn’t do anything about it!! I was so angry! And disgusted! And my brother is a freaking Deputy and I flipped out on him and his wife and they said the age of consent in Nevada is 16 and just shrugged all hopeless like.


message 12: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Woods The age of consent is also 16 in the UK - certainly not a justification, as it sounds like this book has many more issues than purely an age-inappropriate relationship...


message 13: by E. (new)

E. yikes! why books like that still get published??? what the hell???


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wynker It's like this book All the Ugly and Beautiful Things where the paedophilia is literally between a child and a grown-up man. The book I mentioned was loosely based on the author's own life. Perhaps, it's the same for this one.


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wynker Also, I can't see what a 28-year-old man could find in a 17-year-old girl. There are just not at the same stage in life. Like the gap is too high.


message 16: by noah (new) - rated it 1 star

noah yes! thank you! i was physically sick reading the book and got so incredibly angry so it was so disheartening to see all the positive reviews for this book so i'm glad people are calling this disgusting bullshit out.


Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا I don't think a 17 year old person is a child, and 11 years between any couple is okay. Each person is different.


message 18: by Brianna (new)

Brianna Silva @Dana Exaaaactly...


Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا Brianna wrote: "@Dana Exaaaactly..."

Thanks, Brianna!


message 20: by Eren (new)

Eren Thank you for writing this. I was really excited for this book but an age gap for forbidden romance is disgusting. Will be avoiding at all costs. This is gross.


message 21: by Blake (new)

Blake Tran ty for warning me


message 22: by Samantha (new) - added it

Samantha Kolber Maybe the whole point of that relationship and story is to show how wrong it is? To make the reader feel uncomfortable with how easily trauma survivors normalize it?


Kristopher Taylor The entire premise of the book is how experiences can alter where we are in our life. The main character’s potential relationship is affected by this exact premise, which accomplished the end goal of the book - to ask tough intrinsic questions and to explore varying answers through differing opinions, including the opinion of the reader. This book explores mental health, childhood trauma, and how negative experiences early in life can normalize otherwise questionable lifestyles and behaviors, leading victims to either accept continued abuse or to use their previous abuses to connect with other victims. It is an unorthodox book that is most likely misclassified as a young adult novel, but nonetheless it is a book that is honest and real and holds value in its appeal to those who may be victims of abuse.


Nicole Please look up definitions before you get all holier-than-thou.


Virginie Gagné To some extent, her being in love with him is normal. People that are hurt tend to hurt themselves again. His actions, though, are not normal! The fact that his is, again and again, painted as a good guy is creepy.


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