Toronto Public Library chose ALL THAT I CAN FIX for a roundup for mental health books. Huzzah, my Canadian friends! And, of course, lots of other terrific books on an important topic, too. The reviewer said:
“I liked [how this book shows]…how one person’s mental health affects others. A central teen character is holding things together while a parent is struggling with poor mental health. The teens’ feelings about it are pretty authentic, and this could be a great thing for other teens to be able to read, particularly if it reflects their own experience and can show them they are not alone in this.”
Mental health + zany dark humor + exotic zoo outbreak + social critique = ALL THAT I CAN FIX.
I like the words Bookriot uses to describe ALL THAT I CAN FIX: “Compelling”. “Strange.” “Heartwarming.”
Yup. That’s about it.
“Romney and his family are known in their small Indiana town. They’re mixed race and Romney’s father tried to kill himself. That would be enough, of course, but the story adds even more to it: there’s a zoo that’s on the loose. That’s literal. Oh, and with that comes those who want to shoot the dangerous animals and those who are advocating animal rights and gun control. Makersville is making quite a name for itself in this story that throws together many compelling and strange pieces in a heartwarming, worthwhile way.”
I’m very happy to announce that I will be an adjunct professor at Benedictine University for the spring semester of 2019.
The course: Writing CompassionIn this experiential course, students will foster the skills of deep listening and compassion to gain greater mastery over their emotions, curb knee-jerk judgments of the Other, and hold a multiplicity of worldviews; they will then give their journeys’ struggles and rewards artistic expression through the written word.Huzzah! All the ways that compassion is cultivated and transmitted in this world, through books and classes, presentations and moments that set your heart on fire.
Huzzah! My book, ALL THAT I CAN FIX, is the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Book of the Week! Some great quotes of the review:
“This compelling, ambitious novel has just the right touch of the absurd to balance its serious themes.”
“[Ronney’s] experience as a brown-skinned teen is that people want to categorize him, and do judge him. He is an irresistible force at the center of this story, a heart that won’t be denied, caring with each beat despite every claim he makes to the contrary.”
School Library Journal’s review for ALL THAT I CAN FIX:
“This quirky coming-of-age novel is full of hardships that the protagonist must endure, while still maintaining a lighthearted tone. VERDICT A strong choice for YA collections, this complex selection with a variety of relatable characters in extraordinary circumstances will win over teens.” –Caitlin Wilson, Meadowdale Library, North Chesterfield, VA
My upcoming book, ALL THAT I CAN FIX, has received a starred review from Kirkus, one of the hardest reviewers in the industry. My favorite line of the review: “Ronney is refreshingly and defiantly multiracial (his family’s exact heritage is not specified, but he is at one point mistaken for Latino), and readers will fall hard for him in this novel that balances the heartbreak of a parent’s emotional abandonment and a child’s fear of violence with plenty of absurd, laugh-out-loud moments.”
The entire review:
Ronney kept believing his dad would snap out of it and shape up—until his hope turned into anger.In Makersville, Indiana, a local eccentric with a collection of neglected exotic zoo animals sets all the animals free and then kills himself. But 15-year-old Ronney is focused on keeping things together for his precocious, sensitive younger sister, prescription drug-addicted mother, and suicidally depressed father. He’s also in love with a perfectionistic girl who only wants to be friends, and he has a best friend whose desire to go viral with photos of the escaped animals veers into death-wish territory (both characters are light-skinned). Ronney is deeply flawed, with a rage that simmers close to the surface, but readers will sympathize with his burning resentment toward his father’s mental illness and its impact on the family. He doesn’t much care about flunking algebra, not with half the town arming themselves with guns and a motley crew of animal rights and gun (pro and con) activists descending in protest. Ronney is refreshingly and defiantly multiracial (his family’s exact heritage is not specified, but he is at one point mistaken for Latino), and readers will fall hard for him in this novel that balances the heartbreak of a parent’s emotional abandonment and a child’s fear of violence with plenty of absurd, laugh-out-loud moments. A superbly entertaining read that weaves issues of mental health and gun control with adolescent angst. (Fiction. 13-18)
Please note for the title All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan(ISBN 9781534408883, 6/12/18), pages 289-300 of the galley have been changed significantly in the finished version. They are available to you by PDF upon request.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.