All I Know

Fiction - Womens
336 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

All I Know is a work of fiction penned by author Holly C LaBarbera in the women’s, interpersonal drama, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Kai Martin takes center stage in this touching novel, along with her twin brother, Kade, surrounded by their loving parents and their extended connection to the Tyler family. As they navigate shared experiences, the families conceal underlying dysfunctions of alcoholism, depression, and abuse. Kai's stability crumbles with a tragic event, leading to a reconnection with Josh Tyler in adulthood. Their love is profound, yet haunted by the past. The novel beautifully unfolds the complexities of relationships, sacrifice, and self-discovery whilst also telling a new story of repair and growth.

Author Holly C LaBarbera has crafted an emotionally charged journey that will give fans of women’s fiction everything they could hope for in terms of heartfelt drama, realistic character portrayal, and intriguing emotional challenges in the plot. LaBarbera skilfully portrays the intricate dynamics of families, love, and resilience and I was impressed by the authenticity of the dialogue and its natural, unique style for each major character. It’s rare to find a work with so many distinct voices, yet their family ties and shared histories weave them all into one huge complex tapestry that is fascinating to explore. The narrative's exploration of loss and the protagonist's journey toward self-trust resonates deeply, and it endears Kai to readers in ways that make her feel like a personal friend by the novel’s close. Overall, All I Know is a poignant reminder that, in the face of life's uncertainties, the strength to rebuild often lies within ourselves. This is a highly recommended read for fans of deeply felt, resonant drama everywhere.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In All I Know, Holly LaBarbera details the life of Kai Martin, who has loved Josh Tyler for as long as she can remember. Even though she's had crushes on other boys, he has consistently been the one she's adored. Their families connect on the holidays and for a combined family vacation each year, but aside from their celebrations, the Martins and the Tylers have significant issues. As their families deal with mental and physical abuse, drug addiction, and alcoholism, Josh and Kai stay in touch through letters. As Kai enters adulthood, she and Josh forge a more intimate relationship, but it's not as close as she needs. Kai must decide if she will let go of her self-defining qualities to stay with Josh or if she will walk away to find a more meaningful life.

Holly LaBarbera knows exactly how to hook a reader! Within a chapter, I was completely invested in the Martin and Tyler families, and I felt like I shared their happiness and heartbreaks. The writing is almost conversational, putting the reader in the moments as they happen and leading them further into a romance that spans decades. Kai and Josh's story is richly described, but you get to know their families on a personal level, too. The story is so impactful, and I challenge you to read it without feeling a rainbow of emotions. I predict many readers will have a book hangover after this one! All I Know is a fantastic selection for readers who enjoy love stories with familiarity and drama and like the mystery of a book hinting that there may or may not be a happily ever after.