I struggled with All The Things We Were. It had an interesting concept. Instead of spending her summer in the sun, a teen is forced to work at her father’s bookstore. She meets a boy, who is the complete opposite of her and who happens to be in band.
However, any sort of love I had for this book kept decreasing due to the actions of one of the main characters.
Michelle was an unlikable character, and essentially unredeemable for me. She was the textbook definition of a spoiled rich girl, who credits her rudeness to her hatred of love. It was a little ridiculous, and quite frankly annoying. There were several instances where she would intentional say something or be rude to an individual for no reason at all. For example, on her first day at the bookstore. Although she barely knew Rainer, Michelle displayed a strong dislike for him. It was never explained why.
I kept hoping somewhere down the line, Michelle would face some sort of character development. She did but it was minor, and it could be argued that she was still the same character that she had been at the beginning of the book. There were no consequences for her early comments or actions and she learned nothing.
I didn’t mind Rainer. He was this shy kid who transforms once he gets on stage. He had potential. And Rainer seemed like a sweet kid. He had a healthy relationship with his sister and his parents. I thought that he had an interesting upbringing. I would have loved for that aspect of his life to have been explained more.
As for the relationship between Rainer and Michelle. It felt immature and underdeveloped. Why was Rainer so attracted to Michelle and vice versa? There needed to be more build up to their relationship considering it was almost hate at both sight for them. Within a couple of days, these two characters who barely spoke were almost in a relationship.
All The Things We Were introduces readers to a romance that isn’t quite satisfying.