Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tour & Giveaway: All Things Different by Shawn Underhill

Late in the summer of 2005, starkly independent Jake Thornton was on the verge of turning 16, expecting little more than his driver’s license in the fall, and the continuance of the quiet life shared with his father. So when 14-almost-15 year old Sara moved in next door and began vying for his father’s attention, Jake wasn’t exactly thrilled, and couldn’t quite understand his father’s motives for allowing it. But certainly he never anticipated the dramatic shift their lives would take as a result.

As the summer fades and autumn takes over, friendship between the two teenagers begins blossoming into a bond, until fate steps in once more, threatening to tear them apart as quickly as they’ve come together. The decisions that follow, and the emotive tale that results, opens Jake’s eyes to the simple yet life altering truth, a truth that Sara has understood all along: that love—not the feeling but the action—is the most powerful force in the world.

Here is an excerpt from All Things Different:

Outside I headed straight to the shop. In passing I saw a thin mist rising from the lake. My heart was beating nicely. I gathered the fishing gear while Dad turned over the boat and put the floats in place before the seats. I was cold but warm inside and very excited, hurrying to the point where I was getting clumsy in my cold-fingered excitement.

I stepped out the side door of the shop with my hands full of gear and my head full of early-morning promise. Then I stopped dead in my tracks. Sara was there. She’d gotten to my old man while I was inside. I hadn’t heard her over the commotion, but there she was, sure as hell, with my father helping her fasten a life vest over a yellow sweatshirt. I watched for a moment, taking slow, deep breaths.

“Hi, Jake,” she said as I neared them, smiling in bright-eyed, tight-lipped triumph. Her hood was up with the strings drawn, and her head was partially immobilized due to the bulky, ugly orange life vest.

I said nothing and dropped the poles and tackle box into the center of the boat. The tackle box gave a semi-satisfying thud against the bottom. Sara jumped slightly.

“Here,” Dad said, ignoring me. Leaning before her, he pulled the hood strings a little snugger. “You don’t want that cold wind in your ears, where you’re not used to it. Once it warms up, you won’t need it anymore.”

“Thanks,” Sara said, smiling very big.

“We don’t have another pole,” I said. “The reel on the spare is broken.”

“She’ll use mine,” Dad said.

I climbed into the bow and took my seat facing forward. At the time I would’ve bet a thousand bucks that she was making faces behind my back. Ha-ha, I won!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started reading All Things Different.  This is labeled as a YA Contemporary and I don't tend to read a ton of books in this genre.  It took me a couple chapters to settle in to the writing and the story but I was really pleasantly surprised by how I felt about this book.

I think I mostly enjoyed learning to love Sara through Jake's eyes.  It is a process and involves all sorts of complications and emotions.  As Jake learns more about Sara and her struggles he feels protective and responsible to help her.  His feelings of love evolve over time and I really felt like I was a part of that journey with him.

This book is beautifully written.  I could picture the scenery of the book so clearly.  The lake, the house, the forest surrounding them.  It was beautiful in my mind's eye.  I love when a book can provide me with such clear pictures.

One of the things I loved in this book was how these two men accept and draw Sara and her mother into their family circle.  While things seem to fall apart for Sara, I never had a completely hopeless feeling because I really believed in Jake and his Dad.  They were solid and trustworthy and I knew they would be there for Sara.  I guess it's the real feelings in this book that I connected with.  All Things Different was a pleasurable read and a happy surprise for me.

I love the quote at the beginning of the Goodreads description because I feel like it helps sum up the book so well and explain the title.  :) 

"I know that the night is not that same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist." ~ Ernest Hemingway

Content wise, there was some swearing and Sara and Jake sleep in the same bed together for most of the book.  That "sleeping together" evolves into more than sleeping over time but it is never mentioned in the book or talked about.  Sara has been abused so there are many difficult issues dealt with in this book.

Contact Info for Shawn Underhill:

Twitter: @shawnunder

Purchase Link

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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*


  1. I actually love books set in high school. Kind of dorky, but I love the realism of it all! :)

  2. I love books set at boarding schools. I don't know why, but I love the idea of getting to go to a boarding school.

  3. My favorite setting is an island or beautiful beach!


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