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Everything Is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis

Everything Is Fine.Mazzy tells herself that everything is fine, that things will work out, that it will be okay. So what if her mom won’t get out of bed? She will when she’s ready. So what if Mazzy’s dad is virtually absent? Mazzy and her mother can take care of themselves just fine. Everything will be just fine, or will it? And was it even fine to begin with? How can a family torn apart by tragedy and grief ever come together again?

Everything Is Fine is an interesting coming of age novel, one that also explores the effects of death of a loved one. The novel is told as Mazzy’s stream of consciousness which allows great insight into Mazzy’s character and mind. Some readers may be wary of Mazzy at first, because she is very strange; however, when readers learn about Mazzy’s family’s tragedy, Mazzy’s odd habits and peculiarities are easily explained. This novel is completely realistic from a psychological standpoint; the remaining three members of Mazzy’s broken family deal with death through escape, denial, self-blame, and severe depression. What made this story stand out to me was how this tragedy came at such a turning point in Mazzy’s life; she’s just a young girl, on the verge of puberty, heading into a new school, and she doesn’t know how to deal with the numerous changes in her life. She doesn’t really have a mentor to turn to. That made Mazzy so likeable to me, in spite of her strangeness, and the ending all the more sweeter and hopeful. I’ll admit, I was a little put off at first by the untraditional format of this story and Mazzy’s weird characteristics, but I’m glad I finished the book because Everything Is Fine was a touching story.

Some readers may be discouraged from reading this novel due to its strange format—it’s not poetry, but it’s a much simpler version of prose than in most other novels—but I hope this won’t stop everyone from reading this sweet story. Everything Is Fine may be enjoyed by fans of The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott, Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe, and Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Little, Brown

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