Reviews

All the Things We Don't Talk About by Amy Feltman

tamarina's review

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4.0

I'm so glad I continued reading this book! I was considering to stop half way because it was so intensely depressing. But I'm glad I read on, because there is a hopeful ending.
I won't go into details except that in the end of the book, Zoë is 8 months sober and attending AA meetings.
When looking for reviews with spoilers I read a lot of reviews saying they found this ending hard to believe. I find that very cynical and also unrealistic. There are loads of alcoholics attending AA meetings and trying to stay sober, and succeeding. Sometimes a long time. And yes, Zoë will probably relapse at some point. And then she needs help to get back on track again. That's life. But that doesn't mean that all is wasted. It's just that progress comes with ups and downs and is never a straight line.
Then there were reviews saying it was "too many issues at the same time". To those people I want to say: do you think only straight, cis and neurotypisch people live with addictive family members? It is so typical to think that deviation from the norm only comes one issue at the time. As a queer, chronically ill, disabled and neurodivergent person married to a neurodivergent trans person I actually thought this was a very realistic scenario, and it was refreshing to read about ND and queer characters with their identities just being there and not overly problematized.

I liked the book. Almost loved it, but it was a bit too harsh for that I think. I really liked how the characters actually grew and learned instead of just turning in circles again and again like in many other novels. Learning and growth are how stuff happens in real life.

cowmingo's review

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emotional tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

autumn_amara's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated

4.0

aconkright79's review against another edition

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emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

shhhhhimreading's review

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medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

thebookadvocate's review

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fast-paced

4.0

smalltownbookmom's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5

A moving family drama about Julian, a neurodiverse father and Morgan, his nonbinary teenager whose world gets thrown into chaos when Zoe, the mother who abandoned the family returns from out of the blue wanting to rekindle a relationship with Morgan.

This book had great representation and reminded me a lot of Kim Hooper's newest, Ways the world could end or Laurie Frankel's This is how it always is.

Recommended for fans of well written family stories that make you empathize with the characters and great on audio too.

bookedwithannie's review

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4.0

This book is the definition of character-driven and it was done so so well. We have a non-binary teenager, their neurodivergent single father, the absent alcoholic mother, and a whole host of side-characters for our MC's the interact with.

I was most taken with Julian's story. Feltman writes this autistic single father so well and the relationship between Julian and Morgan was just beautiful. I loved how Morgan took care of Julian but how well Julian took care of Morgan in turn. It would have been an easy move to show Julian as an incompetent parent based on his autism and I think a lot of times that's the direction authors take. Which is why I appreciate so much that Feltman wrote Julian as a strong parent. Yes he had his struggles and he had to do things in a slightly different way than neurotypical parents might, but it was refreshing to see a person with autism represented in a strong fashion.

Zoe's chapters were tough to read (listen to) for many reasons but one being that they read very chaotic and there were a ton of characters to keep straight. However, I think this was brilliant because Zoe is chaotic. Honestly, each character's voice and personality came out so strongly with their respective chapters and that it a mark of a truly talented author.

My one complaint was the mentioned attempted school shooting at the start of the book that never really played panned out as a plot device. It seemed a bit out of place. Otherwise, a stellar character-driven story that was beautiful and will sit with me for a while. Highly recommend!

TW/CW: substance abuse, child abandonment, addiction, mention of school shooting (doesn't happen)

booksaremypeople's review

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5.0

This was such a wonderful and intriguing book! It starts dramatically with a student who brings a gun to Morgan and Sadie’s high school. Luckily, the weapon is confiscated, but the students are shaken up after having been evacuated. It’s during their evacuation that Morgan and Sadie strike up a friendship – both on financial aid. Morgan identifies as nonbinary and lives with her neurodivergent father, Julian, after their alcoholic mother, Zoe, left them and headed to Europe when Morgan was only one. Soon, Sadie and Morgan develop feelings for one another, disrupted by Zoe’s sudden return to the states and Morgan and Julien’s home. What Morgan doesn’t know is that their father has developed an epistolary relationship with Brigid, Zoe’s ex. Having their mother back in Morgan’s life is beguiling, dangerous and confusing. This is a unique book about family and relationships and navigating messy truths about life. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced review copy. To hear more about this and other titles, listen to my book recommendation podcast: BOOKS ARE MY PEOPLE.

jcinf's review

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emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Likes:
  • Characters: lovable and realistic. Especially Julius. He was my favorite
  • Autistic rep: Julius’ personality was great. He was written in a way that demonstrated his struggles but also celebrated his quirks. He was a three dimensional autistic character, and he resonated with me a lot. 
  • Queer rep: Morgan’s non-binary-ness was great. Loved that their mom was queer too. 
  • The pacing: It never felt too rushed or too drawn out. The jumps in time felt appropriate when they were included. 
  • The portrayal of teenagehood: the teenage rebellion felt realistic and not overdone to me. 
  • Addiction rep: Really showed the emotional toll of addiction across all people in the addict’s life. And showed a spiral of growth and setbacks. 

Dislikes: 
  • I had a really hard time liking Zoe at first. I thought the author eventually made her more balanced. Where I saw Zoe’s good and bad. But for the first few sections with Zoe, I thought she was just terrible. BUT, that said,  the story probably wouldn’t have the same impact otherwise. So maybe I’m wrong lol. 
  • I feel like there was something else I disliked that I can’t really remember. 

Overall, this was a good read! I enjoyed it a lot. I nearly got through it in 3 days.