Friday, January 26, 2024

Book Review: All Grown Up

By Sara Steven

Neveah is fifteen. A schoolkid. With a secret life. She's a digital freelancer, and is having an affair with her biggest client. Giles is married. He thinks Neveah is twenty-two. She'll do just about anything to stop him from finding out her true age. But secrets have a way of spilling out. With devastating consequences. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

First off, I absolutely loved the writing style within All Grown Up. There are no long, drawn out, introspective moments for the characters highlighted within the book. It was gritty and to the point, going back to the fundamental “show, don’t tell” rule that so many writers have learned along the way. Catherine Evans showed us what each character is going through and dealing with, and how they are all interwoven and intertwined through the smallest of actions, creating a devastating rippling effect that kept me engaged from start to finish.

It all begins with Neveah. She’s grown up within a really rough environment, having to fend for herself for most of her young life. She’s figured out a way to make it in the world as best she can, providing freelance work for business professionals. A friend of her father’s had introduced her to Giles, which later leads to a full-blown affair. He’s under the impression that she’s a young adult who runs her own business, but she’s just a teenager. There are a lot of morality questions that arise, aside from the issues of infidelity–if Neveah lied about her age and Giles had no idea of her real age, can Giles walk away from this event unscathed? Is he still in the wrong, regardless? Suddenly, there are multiple people who weigh in on this, too, despite Neveah’s best efforts to keep everything a secret.

Giles has been in a tumultuous relationship with his wife Christine for years. She’s the victim of sexual assault and has been unable to leave her home in the last seven years. Watching that dynamic unfold had been at times painful, and revealing. It explained a lot as to the decisions Giles has made, for better or worse, and how clueless Christine has been in regards to her husband’s whereabouts. Along for the ride is their daughter, Serena, who has her own cross to bear in her dysfunctional romantic relationship. It seemed a lot of what Serena is going through can at times parallel what Christine has gone through, and as a parent, I could understand the pain Christine feels in wanting to protect Serena at all costs, but knowing at some point, there’s only so much she’s able to do.

Various spider webs of drama and chaos extend out from the major players within this book, picking up more and more of the secondary characters that support the major ones, creating a mess of lies, deceit, and at times, debauchery. Through it all, Neveah attempts to survive the mess. I really liked how various characters give their own viewpoints within chapters, picking up speed as the end of the book draws near. I really enjoyed all of the emotional feelings I’d experienced while reading All Grown Up. It was gritty and raw, and worthy of the five stars I’ve given it!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Catherine Evans is an author and publisher. She’s the Editor of fictionjunkies, which publishes book and short stories online by authors around the world and the co-founder of Inkspot Publishing –, which has now released four titles. She’s a trustee of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and lives in Oxfordshire. She’s married with a daughter and three stepdaughters. 

Visit Catherine online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Giveaway to Win FIVE paperback copies of the book for a Book Club group 
(Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter (link) below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within seven days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  We are not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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