Everything's Not Fine
Everything's Not Fine
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Annotation: Everything's Not Fine is a story about discovering resilience in the face of things you can't control, learning to trust friends and family to help carry your burdens, and challenging ourselves to love the addict and hate the addiction.
Catalog Number: #218571
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 304 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-684-42410-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8281-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-684-42410-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8281-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019035589
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A 17-year-old artist’s world is knocked sideways when her mother overdoses.High school senior Rose Hemmersbach’s life is occupied by shifts at Walmart, looking after her three younger siblings, and healing from a freshly broken heart. Rose dreams of the day she can leave the mundanity of rural Sparta, Wisconsin, to attend art school. But then she discovers her heroin-addicted mother overdosed on the kitchen floor and her life spirals out of control with feelings of guilt and helplessness as she begins to suffer from artist’s block; that which used to bring life to her days no longer sustains her. The family, already teetering on the edge of poverty, is evicted, and her parents are being investigated by child protective services. Rose blames herself for everything. Can she box up the thoughts of things she can’t control and focus solely on what she can? Rose’s first-person narration is a roller coaster of believable emotions and inner conflict: Feelings of love for her mother and the desire to have her back home get twisted up in her anger and the desire for Mom to stay away. Rose, whose artistic hero is Frida Kahlo, describes the world in colors; she doesn’t see red, blue, and brown, but alizarin crimson, phthalo blue, and burnt umber. Rose’s art partner and possible new love, Rafa, is Mexican American; assume whiteness for everyone else.Alive with vibrant, raw emotion. (Fiction. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Seventeen-year-old Rose's dreams of escaping her small Wisconsin town and winning a place at a prestigious art school take a vicious hit when she comes home on the evening before the start of senior year to find her mother passed out and bloody on the floor in the throes of a heroin overdose. Life instantly becomes a desperate juggling act as the need to care for three younger siblings and create a semblance of normalcy to keep the Child Protection Bureau from splitting up the family conflict with the demands of school, her part-time job, and futile attempts to keep the episode secret. Subject to alternating fits of smoldering anger and tearful meltdowns, Rose makes a compelling narrator. Both vulnerable and strong, loving her siblings fiercely and her parents, too, she projects the very image of a withdrawn and hostile teen to the outside world while viewing that world with a painter's eye for subtle colors and textures. Carlson gives her sturdy allies, notably a social worker who frankly explains what an addicted parent can expect from the justice system and underfunded social services, and Rafa, a hunky new classmate who turns out to be not only a kindred artistic spirit but a loyal, fundamentally decent sort who, by the not exactly sunny but brightening end, has moved beyond friendship to something more. VERDICT Along with the relatively uncommon theme of living with an addicted parent, this emotionally intense tale offers middle school and older readers an engaging picture of two teens circling and closing as they discover common ground.John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, New York
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A 17-year-old artist’s world is knocked sideways when her mother overdoses.High school senior Rose Hemmersbach’s life is occupied by shifts at Walmart, looking after her three younger siblings, and healing from a freshly broken heart. Rose dreams of the day she can leave the mundanity of rural Sparta, Wisconsin, to attend art school. But then she discovers her heroin-addicted mother overdosed on the kitchen floor and her life spirals out of control with feelings of guilt and helplessness as she begins to suffer from artist’s block; that which used to bring life to her days no longer sustains her. The family, already teetering on the edge of poverty, is evicted, and her parents are being investigated by child protective services. Rose blames herself for everything. Can she box up the thoughts of things she can’t control and focus solely on what she can? Rose’s first-person narration is a roller coaster of believable emotions and inner conflict: Feelings of love for her mother and the desire to have her back home get twisted up in her anger and the desire for Mom to stay away. Rose, whose artistic hero is Frida Kahlo, describes the world in colors; she doesn’t see red, blue, and brown, but alizarin crimson, phthalo blue, and burnt umber. Rose’s art partner and possible new love, Rafa, is Mexican American; assume whiteness for everyone else.Alive with vibrant, raw emotion. (Fiction. 14-18)
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews (3/1/20)
School Library Journal (3/1/20)
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 9-12

Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town Sparta, Wisconsin and achieve her artistic dreams, just like her aunt Colleen. Rose's love of Frida Kahlo fuels her paint brush and her dreams to attend a prestigious art school. Painting is Rose's escape from her annoying younger siblings and her family's one rule: ignore the elephant in the room, because talking about it makes it real. That is, until the day Rose finds her mother dying on the kitchen floor of a heroin overdose. Kneeling beside her, Rose pleads with the universe to find a heartbeat. She does - but when her mother is taken to hospital, the troubles are just beginning. Rose and her dad are left to pick up the pieces: traumatized siblings, a Child Protective Services investigation, eviction. As Rose fights to hold everything together, and her dreams of the future start to slip from her grasp, she must face the question of what happens when - if - her mom comes home again. And if, deep down, Rose even wants her to.


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