Purchase: Amazon | B&N
*Approved via Netgalley
To be honest, I didn't read the blurb before going into this book. Something about the solemn girl on the cover and the title intrigued me enough to request it on Netgalley. Good thing I did. All It Takes was a great read. I went in blind and received a wonderful surprise.
The story is different in the sense that not only were the characters flawed, but the major thing, in my opinion, is that the plot surrounds a topic that has made me an addict to a certain TV show. I've never read about hoarding before, so it was refreshing to find a story that depicted it so well. And that had a lot to do with the writing style and how well the author delivered descriptions that made visualizing every scene so easy. I felt Star's shock upon seeing the true state of her mother's house for the first time in years, and I could relate with how overwhelmed it all was for her: trying to clean the place as well as what her next step should be. Then here comes Ash.
Not without trouble of his own, Ash gave me the impression from start that there was a lot more to his story than just causing a terrible crash that led to someone's death. I connected with him as much as I did with Star, and that's mostly due to the fact that the story is written in alternating POVs. I loved getting inside Ash's head and feeling what he was going through: the scrutiny of returning to his hometown after what happened, and the guilt he held on to. Wow. He couldn't catch a break. No one would hire him and people treated him like a leper. Like he'd intentionally went looking to kill someone. It unnerved me how disgusting these town folks were and I cursed them on many occasions (inside my head). Even his parents were indifferent towards Ash when he came home. I can't believe his mother and the cowardliness of his father in standing up to her. Like seriously? Anyway, thank goodness these two imperfect characters came together.
Star's such a wonderful person. She sympathized with Ash and stood up to others on his behalf. I mean, in spite of not knowing the guy, she went out on a limb and offered to pay him for helping her clean out her mother's house. And maybe it's because she needed the help, but I still found it nice of her to do that when no one else would hire him because of his past. Perhaps in a desperate way, they both helped each other and in the end, healed each other's hearts.
I'm not one to go deeper into a story in fear of giving too much away, so all that's left to say is that this one was truly realistic and enjoyable. The pacing was fast and to the point, and the overall feel of the story was believable. Without a doubt, I highly recommend picking up All It Takes if you're looking for gritty characters, small town setting, and a book that involves hoarding (if you're a fan of the TV show like I am).