No One Is Alone
Published July 12, 2022
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About No One Is Alone
From bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a gripping and heartfelt story about a girl faced with a shocking revelation when her mom dies and she’s forced to move in with her father’s “real” family.
Michaela is a junior in high school, close with her single mom. Her dad lives a few towns away and pops in and out of her life only on holidays and birthdays. They barely know each other beyond surface obligations.
That is, until her mom dies. Suddenly on her own, Michaela has to move in with her Dad . . . and learns he’s been married with kids all this time, and she was the product of an affair. Before she can even grieve her mother, Michaela is thrust into a strange house with a stepmom and three half-siblings, including new sister Emery, who is in the same grade and less than thrilled at the prospect of sharing her room and school life. Will Michaela be able to let go of everything she’s ever known-and find herself anew-with a family who didn’t ask for her in the first place?
I feel like my thoughts on this one are complicated. First, it’s the second book in a row where I didn’t really connect with the main character the way I wanted to. Which is unusual for me. It makes me wonder if I’m just… grouchy or something? So factor that possibility into this review.
I thought the beginning of the book was great. It starts off when Michaela learns her mom died, and right away, her grief throws her into a tailspin. She feels so many things. So many things change faster than she can catch her breath. It drew me in, hooked me into the story.
I loved Gabe and Cody, Michaela’s brothers immediately. Cody is so sweet and so smart. Gabe has this easygoing, funny exterior but it feels like there’s more happening underneath that cheery surface. I wanted to get to know them more. Another character I really liked is Grammie, Michaela’s step-grandmother, who lives with the family and is terminally ill. I liked the way the relationship between them helped Michaela find her place within the family and even process some of her grief. Cynthia, Michaela’s stepmom also won me over pretty quickly. She’s got her issues, but she’s so clearly trying to love and care for all the people around her the best she can.
I found it harder to connect with Michaela. She’s stubborn, which is okay. I think her character was paced really well and the way her stubbornness impacted her other relationships made a lot of sense. She also grew a lot as a result of that stubbornness. And sometimes it led her to say things that needed to be said even though they were hard things to say.
You know that feeling when you’re in the car with someone and they take too long to start braking the car, so you feel your foot trying to stomp an imaginary brake pedal? I think had the reading experience of that feeling in this book. Which I think is maybe evidence that the author did a really good job with making Michaela a flawed, consistent character. And she does grow a lot.
Aside from all of that, let me say that Michaela joins a theater production of Into the Woods, so a lot of the story centers around that and around her performing with her brother’s garage band. I loved both those elements, but the cover copy mentions neither of them. But they’re both worth knowing about.
All in all, I feel like what I’m trying to say is that I think NO ON IS ALONE is a really well-written book. I just didn’t connect with it the way I’d hoped to. I think fans of WHERE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller will like this one.
Content warning for death of a parent, drug abuse and overdose, teen drinking.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. Reference to sex. Michaela walks in on a couple who are making out and only half-dressed. She immediately walks back out.
References to smoking pot. A boy takes hydrocodone without a prescription. Teens drink alcohol in several scenes. Michaela drinks in at least one scene.
A girl discovers a boy unconscious and unresponsive after he accidentally overdosed on drugs.
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