Tag Archives: chronic illness

Review: One for All by Lillie Lainoff

One for All by Lillie Lainoff

One for All
Lillie Lainoff
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Published March 8, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About One for All

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

My Review

I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it came out! I wasn’t able to get a pre-release copy, but a group that I write editorial reviews for sent me a copy a while ago, so I cleared my schedule and sat down to read it!

The setting swept me away. I loved getting lost in the beautiful descriptions of places and lovely dresses and parties. Tania also spends a good deal of time practicing fencing, so I loved getting to read about some of the technical side of that. I thought those descriptions were easy to follow (and I know nothing of fencing) and well-paced.

The characters are charming, too. I loved the girls Tania joins at Madame Treville’s establishment. They each bring different talents and sensibilities to the team of Mousquetaires. Also, I loved reading about them getting to know one another and building relationships with each other. I kind of wish we had gotten to know Henri a bit more, but it makes sense that the story would focus on the four girls.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Though I can’t speak for the accuracy of the representation, I can say as a reader, Tania’s experience was very accessible. Her illness intruded into her life in some ways, but it didn’t define her. Sometimes it meant she had to work hard to compensate for her limits as best as she could, and other times it meant she leaned on people she could trust. I thought that seemed like a great balance, and it kept the story from being dominated by her symptoms and Tania centerstage.

On the whole, I loved it. I would definitely read more by Lillie Lainoff, so I’m excited to see what she writes next. I think readers who enjoy historical fiction like THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz will love this one.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Tania is disabled and has POTS.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief profanity in French used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to girls’ reputations and the harm that rumors about them being taken advantage of or being caught in a romantic position could do. References to an assault that happened before the story began.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Tania and her sisters in arms take lessons in fencing. Some situations of peril occur. Some brief battle violence, no graphic injuries.

Drug Content
References to social drinking at parties and dinners.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
Nicola Yoon
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Published September 1, 2015

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Everything, Everything

My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. And I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Review

Maddy’s narrative is accompanied by random snippets: super short movie synopses, clever charts and definitions that speak to Maddy’s state of mind, and transcripts of instant messages exchanged between Maddy and Olly.

The story is witty and cute and definitely packed with romantic tension. I was as enamored with Olly as Maddy was upon his entrance to her life. He’s fun and smart, yet has that sort of dark, angsty mystery to him, as well.

Confession: I snooped and read a spoiler (which I immediately regretted) before reading the book for myself. I was worried that knowing a major twist (which the reviewer felt was too perfect or too simplistic) would affect my ability to enjoy the story and really stay in the moment while reading it.

I found the characters so engaging that I wasn’t bothered by knowing what would happen. The outcome felt organic to me, and much more plausible within the context of the story than the review had made it seem.

The one thing that rang a little false to me was Maddy’s confidence about the outside world. I would have expected her to have more anxiety, even if she felt like the risks would be worthwhile. She seemed a little too in control at some moments.

All in all, though, I felt like Yoon does an amazing job with the character development and with the reference to poetry, philosophy and math. Those parts along with the situation concerning Maddy’s health elevate the story from a common contemporary teen romance to something much more substantive. Readers who enjoy books by John Green and movies like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Truman Show should give this novel a read.

Content Notes

Profanity or Crude Language
A handful of instances of brief strong profanity, usually in reference to a drunk man berating his family.

Sexual Content
One sex scene – includes a short description of what happens. Their bodies “moving together” and that sort of thing. It is supposed to be Maddy’s first sexual experience.

Spiritual Content
Madeleine and Olly briefly discuss ideas about hope and faith – more general, less specific to any one religion really. He is pretty convinced there’s nothing more out there in the universe whereas Maddy finds the idea of faith appealing.

Maddy spies on neighbors and witnesses a confrontation that turns violent.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.