ALL ALONE WITH YOU, by Amelia Diane Coombs, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, July 25, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
A self-described loner is forced to work with a perpetually happy boy in order to get a scholarship in All Alone With You, by Amelia Diane Coombs.
Eloise Deane is the worst and doesn’t care who knows it. She’s grumpy, prefers to be alone, and is just slogging through senior year with one goal: get accepted to USC and move to California. So, when her guidance counselor drops the bombshell that to score a scholarship she’ll desperately need, her applications require volunteer hours, Eloise is up for the challenge. Until she’s paired with LifeCare, a volunteer agency that offers social support to lonely seniors through phone calls and visits. Basically, it’s a total nightmare for Eloise’s anxiety.
Eloise realizes she’s made a huge mistake — especially when she’s paired with Austin, the fellow volunteer who’s the sunshine to her cloudy day. But as Eloise and Austin work together to keep Marianne Landis — the mysterious former frontwoman of the 1970s band the Laundromats — company, something strange happens. She actually…likes Marianne and Austin? Eloise isn’t sure what to do with that, especially when her feelings toward Austin begin to blur into more-than-friends territory.
And when ex-girlfriends, long-buried wounds, and insecurities reappear, Eloise will have a choice to make: go all in with Marianne and Austin or get out before she gets hurt. —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
All Alone With You is a book about relationships. Romantic relationships. Friendships. Family relationships. And getting to know yourself.
Eloise Deane is the girl that eats in the library. She’s the one that skips parties. She doesn’t do dating. She’d rather sit in her basement bedroom and play video games. She’s ranked second in her class and is a computer science nerd. She’s grumpy and sarcastic and imperfect. She feels real.
Austin is bubbly and friendly and plays in a band. He enjoys helping others, and doesn’t mind being the center of attention.
When these two seemingly polar opposites come together, magic happens. As Austin pushes Eloise out of her comfort zone, they both learn there are risks and rewards for their actions. And though Eloise is the storyteller, you see growth in both of them.
It’s Marianne that brings Eloise and Austin together, and boy, is she a surprise. The addition of her character brings laughter and contemplation and irreverence to the table.
Author Amelia Diane Coombs writes with raw honesty. In her hands, there’s substance. Even little moments with Eloise’s sister are treated with care, filling up the edges of the story and creating a compelling whole.
All Alone With You is one if the better YA romance novels I’ve read this year.
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