All We Could Have Been

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 May 2019

Member Reviews

4-5 stars!  What a heartbreaking, thrill ride!  I truly was immersed in this book from the very first page.  It left me shocked, sad, chilled, and very thrilled.  A great YA book, for those who love the thriller/suspense/social thematic type books.  Well written, in a way that evokes emotions.  
I will be highly recommending to the members of Chapter Chatter Pub!
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Lexi moves to a yet another new school, hoping against hope that this time she will be able to live a normal life. A life where her brother's crime wouldn't catch up with her. Is it too much to ask?

This was an intriguing read, looking at the fallout from reprehensible crimes on the family of the perpetrator. Society tends to apportion blame and guilt to them, sometimes as much as they do the perp themselves. Even other adults were quick to point the finger at Lexi, who was only a child when her brother's crime took place. The pacing of the story was good and I liked the fact that the romance aspect wasn't 'instalove' for once. Overall, I thought it was a thought-provoking read. 

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Simon & Schuster UK Children's, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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Lexie is used to running. Each year she starts a new school, under a new name, in an attempt to get away from the inevitable bullying when people find out about the awful thing her brother did.
We learn that when Lexie was twelve her brother forgot to pick her up from school. She walked home. She recalls blood, lots of it. And since that time her brother has not been part of her life - although his actions, and the consequences of those actions, permeate every part of her being.
So often in a tragic event, the focus is on those who were lost or the perpetrators. People are suspicious of the family members - how could they not know?
We watch Lexie try to deal in her own way with yet another new beginning. She starts to form tentative friendships and, eventually, makes the decision to tell people the truth. Sadly, not everyone reacts as she’d hoped.
This tried to explore how important it is to feel comfortable with your decisions, but it didn’t quite work for me. The group Lexie allied herself with didn’t seem like young adults (perhaps their petty immaturity was intentional), Lexie herself never really felt like a fully-developed character (again, she’s a work in progress so perhaps this was intentional) and it seemed to send a rather odd message that she only felt strong enough to start addressing some of her issues once she’d had sex.
Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this in exchange for my thoughts. Based on other reviews I’ve read, this wasn’t really the book for me but I’m looking forward to reading his first one.
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A bit of a letdown after Carter's fantastic first book; I struggled to care much for the protagonist, and I didn't find her to be memorable, and it just was a bit eh
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A high school drama that involves all the basic elements such as jealousy, fake rumors, rivalry and a lot of dark secrets. ‘All We Could Have Been’ deals with accepting oneself, grief and a lot of other emotional trouble that is usually quite difficult to deal with during one’s teenage years.
Alexia had been haunted by her brother’s crimes all her life and that made her change places and schools a lot.
When she decided to stay at one place just to complete her senior year, she meets Marcus and Ryan- both of them, poles apart in character.
This is followed by the typical teenage drama and it all starts to get boring and monotonous. The whole concept of vengeance, jealousy, and fights only makes the plot more dramatic and full of grief.
I could not connect with the characters. It was very difficult to enter their fragile, teenage minds and that slowed me down. As the story progressed I stopped expecting anything extraordinary and let the author take me wherever she was headed with the story.
I wouldn,t say that I dislike the book, but honestly, I didn’t like it very much.
I would recommend it to people who like high school drama such as Gossip Girl etc. this might be the right fit for them, as it certainly wasn’t for my adult brain.
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Oh my this book was actually pretty awesome! I went into it with low expectations but it really blew my mind- the plot twists were intriguing and kept me reading even on the tube!

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a twist to a normal school setting!
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Lexi has to cope with a lot in life. This book tells how cruel and unpredictable people can be. It is well written and a compelling read.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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*2.5 Stars*

Lexie has been through a lot. She has has to move around because of what happened some years ago and has never been able to settle since. The trauma still haunts her and she would do anything to get her life back on track.

I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't stand the main character, couldn't connect with her. i get that she'd been through a lot but I still didn't find anything really interesting about her and most of her choices were questionable. The love story didn't hold my interest and I didn't really like the other characters either. The writing style wasn't really my thing either. I often found myself wondering why they were so many metaphors coming out of nowhere. It really wasn't for me.
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When Lexi returns from school one day, her entire life changes.  The brother who she once admired has committed a crime so serious that it will define who others think she is.  

This is more than just a novel about crime, in fact the crime itself is very much in the background, but focuses on the effects of it on those left behind.  It's a novel about consequences, responsibility, identity and introspection. 

The characters are multi-layered and complex, and I really felt sympathy for Lexi as she tries to negotiate relationships with people who don't really know themselves.  The characters are shown to be fragile on all sorts of different levels, and this is a novel which approaches teenage mental health with realism and sensitivity. 

One thing which confused me about 'All That We Could Have Been' is its title.  Whilst it does deal with the  loss and destruction of a 'normal' future, it doesn't strike me as the novel's central theme.

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
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162 days. This is all Lexi needs. To survive in her new school for just 162 days, and then she'll be ok.

Alexia has been changing school every year since she was 13. And in each one of them, she appears with a different name. All she wants is to remain unnoticed. But every year turns into a new disaster. But this is yer senior year. This is the last time she'll have to run and hide. And maybe this year, the last 162 days are going to be fine.

But this time, she has made friends. She has let herself feel, and she's fallen in love. Can she, for once, have a normal life? Is it possible for her? Or is everything going to be ruined again when someone finds out her real name and past?

There could be no more fitting title for this story than All We Could have Been. A story of secrets, pain, struggles, and a world that could have been but didn't come to be, this is also a book of friendship and light appearing in a very dark situation. Lexi is a complex character, and definitely not your typical 17-year-old. But her feelings are valid and real, and they will appeal to many people who read this, especially adolescents. 

The beautiful thing about this book is that it's not trying to sugarcoat the difficult situation it's describing. Through this story, the readers learn about Lexi, her struggle to cope with a hard past and an equally difficult present, and they are reminded how actions don't only have consequences for the person who does them; sometimes they have a great impact on the ones around them, too.

A beautifully written book, I recommend All We Could Have Been to all fans of fiction, especially the YA genre.
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# All We Could Have Been #Netgalley 
I don’t normally request or read books like this. However when I read the synopsis something drew me in. I really do not do romance book. So to say I was surprised would be a understatement. I believe the pulling factor was based on Lexi just wants to complete a full year at school, yet each year she dragged of to a new school, I was very much like that school upon school etc, I know how hard it was to become friends with anyone because you never knew for how long, so to me it was really intriguing to see if the author could get anywhere near the feeling and emotions of someone having to live this way. I will say overall it was a cracking book, and also close to how you feel keep harping to move on, my situation was different reasons, but the longing lexi had to feel like she belonged and wanted a normal life came across so well. So although I generally don’t read romance books, I actually would not call it a over the top romantic book at all, it’s that feeling of someone showing you what you need in live love affection and in many cases to have a normal friendship. Very well written I have to say. Yes I would definitely recommend this book.
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Lexie is a girl with a mysterious past who must struggle to fit in, yet again, at yet another high school. Living with her aunt, she wants nothing more than to fly under the radar and make it through this final year of school without incident. If she keeps herself to herself and doesn't try to make friends she may just get away with it, but fate seems to be conspiring against her in the form of Ryan, a boy with secrets of his own who could possibly be a real friend, and Marcus,  the boy she finds herself falling for. The danger is that opening up to either one of them could destroy the safety net she has built around herself, and if her secret does get out, she has no doubt that she will lose them both. 
I thought it was very clever that the author did not reveal, but rather hinted at the secret Lexie is hiding for most of the first part of the book, it really played into the curiosity that those around her in her new school were also displaying and put the reader on an even footing with those characters.. It is also telling that like most of these students I was almost more interested in the secret she was hiding than the character herself, Once the author does reveal the back story,  Lexie's anxiety and trust issues make a lot of sense. I liked the development of Lexie over the course of the book, and I really appreciated the perspective of a character who was not directly involved in a violent act, but rather had their life and family torn apart in the aftermath. The depiction of her anxiety and PTSD was excellent but I could have done without the romance element, I wish that Lexie's character had been allowed to come into her own without that crutch. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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A raw and honest look at how people portray themselves in comparison to who they really are. Well worked characters and dark secrets made this a great YA read.
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Its not easy being a teenager. Emotions are out of control, the body is changing and identity is a complicated question. And what if your identity is further challenged by a terrible secret? Lexi has been running for 5 years from her secret, and its having a big impact on her identity. And more than anything she doesn't want to be judged. She has moved once again for her final year of school and is doing her best to remain unnoticed. But fate steps in and her identity is shouting to be free. 
The author addresses many relevant themes for YA audience, even if the situation has been taken to the extreme. Lots of interesting, easily visualised characters and I was sucked into Lexi's world. Its also important to dig under the surface of perfection, to find that everyone has there challenging secret that is holding them back from becoming all that they could be. If only we could all be as brave as Lexi.
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Alexia / Lexi is running from her past however it has caught up with her every year since ‘it’ happened causing her to keep reinventing herself just to get through school. Lexi isn’t an easy character and whilst you can understand her perspective she doesn’t feel likeable however I feel that’s deliberate as she struggles to like herself. The book for me really clicked once I reached part two and I was engrossed from that point. It’s a great study of who we are and how we project ourselves to the world, something so many teens struggle with. The story demonstrates an extreme situation but the basics of accepting and dealing with who we are is real at so many levels. This is not the easiest read but it’s incredibly thought provoking and relevant
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Five years ago Lexie walked home from school to find out that her brother Scott had committed a heinous crime. Ever since, Lexie has been on the run from all the rumours and horrible treatment that she received as a result. Treated like a criminal herself Lexie has moved to different family members each time her “dirty secret” has come out. This year she’s determined to complete her senior year, just 162 days, at one school and just blend in. Will this time be different?

This book puts into focus what the repercussions are for the family members of the criminal. When the reality of Lexi's past came to light, I was taken by surprise -I came to my own conclusion as I didn’t read any other reviews or any extended blurbs. The way that Lexi's trauma was written felt so real and I couldn't help but feel for her . 

The author has done a brilliant job with the way she has written this story. You are taken on an emotional roller coaster and you do get sucked in while reading. The characters are relatable and display a whole range of emotions that will stick with you even when you’ve stopped reading. 

This is a story of dealing, healing, friendship, and moving on. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but that's a good thing. Definitely worth a read! If you’re looking for a happy ending that ties everything up you won’t find it, but if your looking for a book that will make you feel for the characters and leave you with hope then this is the book for you.
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The second novel from Carter, All We Could Have Been follows the character of Lexi as she begins a new life, once again in a new town and her life over the bext 162 days as she figures out who she is and what she wants and does it brilliantly. (Spoilers, ahoy!).

I am not a romance person, however this book does romance in all the right ways. Touching and poignant, it’s so tenderly written in this book as she finds love in what some might call the wrong people in Marcus but it’s just so deliciously done. Growing and building throughout the book as she figures out her friendships and those she loves, Lexi is a complex character with real and honest feelings and I love this book for it. 

The plot that sees Lexi moving so much and her relationship with her brother is done just as well. Lexi and her brother haven’t met since he was sent to prison in this book and how she explains the impact on her life of what he did, and it feels sometimes like it’s happening in real time, because I can imagine this would be how someone would react to what has happened to them. This whole story really works together beautifully throughout. 

Though sometimes I feel like there’s a bit of ‘I’m not like other girls’ about Lexi, she is a great character and the group of people who surround her are really well written throughout this book and it makes for a fast read, let me tell you, I couldn’t get enough.
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All We Could Have Been is a genuinely absorbing and very emotional novel, with themes of grief and sense of self, looked at from a different and extremely compelling angle.
Lexi is a layered and engaging character to follow along with, as she once again attempts to start anew- despite herself she starts to hope, to integrate, but her reality is never far behind her and facing the unknown can be a dark path indeed.
I loved the levels of this story, one in which coming of age is a more than usual challenge. Lexi doesn’t know how to define herself beyond that which her Brother did, a horrific act revealed in stages through her narrative. Her coping mechanisms are many but how can you be yourself when all anyone see’s is that one deeply disturbing event, when they wonder about your own personal demons, when acceptance is non existent.
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I liked this book a lot. The story revolves around Lexi, a girl whos running away from her past and hoping that no one finds out the secrets that keep on haunting her. I really enjoyed her character as she was so layered and real which even though she was living with things that the average person isn't made her a relatable mc.

I have to say that I didn't love the romance aspect of the book, it all felt a bit rushed but I appreciate that it helped Lexi to open up and start dealing with her past. On the whole, it was a good YA novel and I will definitely consider reading more from this author in the future.
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Lexi just wants to survive high school. Five schools in five years, each one ending in disaster and isolation when everyone finds out her secret. This year Lexi is determined to stop running away from her past and finish senior year. Nevertheless, she is plagued by fears of what happens if her newfound friends and classmates find out what her brother did those five years ago...

This novel is intensely emotional as Lexi, our main character, struggles with depression and PTSD after a mysterious traumatic event five years before. She has spent the years since running away from her past, making up a new cover story for each school year as she starts somewhere new where no one knows what happened with her brother. Unsurprising, it is sometimes quite difficult to read as the narrative feels very personal and raw - particularly as Lexi's voice comes across as very young. I think I felt so affected because the narrative was very inward looking, focusing on Lexi's emotional journey as she comes to terms with who she is and what she has been through.

However, despite the interesting subject matter,  I did find this novel a bit, well, lackluster. There is not much of a plot, with the big mystery of what happened five years ago becoming quite obvious early on. Much of the novel focuses on Lexi's day-to-day life as she gets settled in a new school, making new friends and even falling in love, and this is juxtaposed by her intense dread that this new normal will all collapse when her newfound friends find out the truth. However, I felt that the new friendships and romantic interest were not introduced or established in a particularly believable fashion, with each relationship developing at speed after a few conversations on the page. The frequent time jumps of weeks in the earlier part of the novel meant that when the narrative really starts to kick off, I just did not believe any of the friendships or relationships had been established in a meaningful way. It just seemed a bit like instalove/instafriends and, because of this, I struggled to care and I grew frustrated with Lexi's turmoil. 

Whilst the themes of mental health, sexuality and grief were all handled in a sensitive and empathetic manner, the writing in All We Could Have Been also felt a bit immature. I could not help feeling at some points that it was not too far off something you would find in a young writer's fanfiction - a good and effective writer, to be sure - but, nevertheless, a narrative plagued with intense teenage angst, which at parts felt a bit too emo for my tastes. Of course, the subject matter is deeply bleak so it made sense but I guess it was not altogether to my tastes. Alongside this, I am obviously not an expert in US penal policy or high school procedure but parts did not seem to be well researched so I found certain plot progressions to be a bit unrealistic.

In sum, it was all a bit of a mixed bag. If you are a fan of dark YA contemporary fiction, I think this is worth a try as a touching coming of age tale of a young woman moving on from trauma. Unfortunately, it just was a case of not being entirely to my taste. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with a copy for review.
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