“Everything All At Once is, in every way, a bit of a BLAST! The author so knows her readers, offering them ’easy to get along with protagonist, an array of teenager-related dilemmas they can relate to, and a musical backdrop that’s not gimmicky but adds to the story.
So, what’s it all about? In a nutshell, the story follows Kila and the ups and downs of teenage life. There’s lots of what you would expect in a book in this genre; there’s the ‘intensity’ of first love, the first kiss, wanting what you can’t have and having what you don’t want. Is it predictable? No, it’s not. The author’s simply giving the teenager what they want.
In terms of writing style, it’s also very good. It’s light, not overly descriptive, and the pacing is excellent. This is not a plot-driven story; it’s character-driven. In this book, the characters are the jam which holds everything together. Thankfully, the author knows her characters very, very well; this shows in the consistent and very individual way they act.
There is a lot of self-discovery going on in this story, particularly for Kila. And, I must say, it is very well-written. It’s insightful too, and very much helps the reader to not only understand Kila, but also start to care about what happens to her. The author also understands how important ‘speech’ is to not only develop the characters, but also the plot.
So, who’s this book for? I’m tempted to say teenage girls will enjoy it the most. Say, 13 – 15 year olds. I think, if you enjoyed books such as Twilight – although you won’t find a vampire in this book – then this is for you. Also, if you love music, this book is a bit of a gem. I loved the idea of listening to a specific song as you enjoy a specific part of a chapter. I had a go and, honestly, it adds mood/atmosphere to the story. How fab is that!? Enjoy!”
–Five stars, A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review
“Kila has everything a girl could want: A happy family, more than one best friend, a boy who adores her, and a killer playlist. Her only problem is that the boy she likes isn’t the one who wants her. There is also someone else who sparks her interest. How was she to know who is a contender for her heart? Maybe, just maybe, she really doesn’t know what her heart really wants or needs. As Kila struggles with indecision and unfair choices, she realizes that high school relationships are often made up of false charm and undetermined shifts in personality. It’s not all good and can be dangerous “dressed up in” vocals, making music the universal catalyst of life.
Everything All at Once by Ivy Cayden is aptly titled in this unique teen story of first love, first kisses, and appropriately manufactured musical interludes. Cayden presents a unique way to enjoy an already fun story. Throughout the text are highlighted song titles that, when downloaded, the reader is encouraged to activate for an interesting addition to the reading experience. Well-developed realistic characters share their musical interests to make this almost a dual plot, filled with age relatable symbolism and common teenage situations. As a great addition to a classroom or personal library, young adult readers will become enraptured with Everything All At Once while anxiously awaiting (as am I) the next in the series. ”
–Five stars, Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite
“Everything All at Once is part of Ivy Cayden’s Chorduroys and Too Many Boys series. Here Cayden paints a fresh and interesting narrative portraying all the ups and downs of teenage life. It’s filled-to-the-brim with interesting characters and twisting plot developments. This riveting story follows our main character, Kila Lorens, and how she navigates her way through relationships and teenage life in general. Cayden paints a vivid and realistic picture of teenage life. The worries and trials and tribulations young people typically face are things often forgotten as we get older, like worrying about our first kiss, heartbreak, and losing friends. The book does a fantastic job of capturing the emotional turmoil of that time in our lives. Young people will undoubtedly find themselves relating to parts of this story, and adults will be treated to waves of embarrassing yet-somehow-comforting nostalgia.
Aspects of this book felt very personal and raw, cringy in a good way, but the nostalgia brought it back to being charming. I thoroughly enjoyed being thrown back into my younger years through this book. My favorite element of this book was the addition of an accompanying playlist; each song assigned to a part of the story. Alongside Cayden’s descriptive imagery and detail, the music added a fantastic depth to the events. I felt far more immersed and connected to the mood and the character’s conflicts while listening to the songs they were listening to in the story. All the songs were clearly selected carefully to fit the tone of the event, and they all fit perfectly. With Cayden’s great knowledge of music, hosting an indie music blog, I was not at all surprised to find so many fantastic hidden gems in this playlist. I truly adored this element of the book, alongside the story itself, because of how much more it added to it. This element really set it apart from other typical teen-fiction I’ve read in the past.
“Kila dreams of being kissed under a canopy of stars and she knows that “The Way I Do” by Bishops Briggs will be playing when the moment finally happens. But finally seems a bit like never since her crush, Angus sees her more as Ethan’s little sister than the girl of his dreams. Plus, he may, or may not, have a girlfriend. And then there’s Brixton – her friend who’s a boy and absolutely not her boyfriend – who has mysteriously been absent from her life for the past six months; Timothy who is far more flirtatious online than his classroom persona suggests; and this is all before Jacques, the hot French chef, comes along.
Sounds complicated? Chorduroys and Too Many Boys is a perfect teen romance that portrays the longing and angst of first love in a real page-turner that has you rooting for Kila to find her perfect match. She may be Ethan’s little sister but she’s ready to prove she’s not a little girl anymore, especially where his band-mate Angus is concerned. But, is it just Angus that Kila could find true love with?
There’s intensity and drama and as it unfolds, to tie into the band theme, the story is accompanied by a carefully curated Spotify playlist where you listen to the chosen tracks alongside reading. So just as Kila paces her floor to “Dreams” by the Cranberries fantasising about Angus, you are also carried away by the sweet scent of the lyrics. For me, any playlist that includes the haunting power of Delores O’Riordan is an absolute winner but the soundtrack really does add something extra to highlight the roller coaster of emotions Kila experiences. Plus, I’ve been introduced to some artists I’ve never heard before taking me on a musical as well as literary journey.
This is teen fiction at its finest. You laugh, you cringe, you sigh as you just know it’s all headed in the wrong direction as you hope, as Kila does, that love will prevail. The writing is at times poetically beautiful, almost lyrical, and beautifully complemented by the chosen tunes. But there’s also powerful sassy dialogue and drawn-out introspection that really does create the gut-wrench of teenage crushes in a way that keeps you hooked to the very end. Be warned – this is just Book 1 – so although there’s a conclusion there is clearly plenty more to come and I can’t wait.”
–Five stars, Whispering Stories
“I loved this book and the hidden lessons seen throughout. The characters were so easy to love and relate to. Ivy Cayden does a wonderful job bringing detail into every scene, so it makes you feel like you’re part of the story.
This book’s unique aspect is the focus on music, and the playlist created specifically for this book is amazing. The songs chosen fit their specific sections wonderfully. I love the use of music in the book and how it portrays emotion when words cannot.
Everything All At Once took me on a wonderful journey and drew me in from the first chapter. The ending left me wanting more, and I cannot wait to read book two. I cannot recommend this book enough and believe it is perfect for anyone who loves romances and coming of age stories.”
–Five stars, Kaitlyn Lane, Heart of Lane
“The cast of characters is nearing the end of their junior year of high school, poised for partings and ready to party. Ethan, Brixton and Angus are the boys in a band who have ambitions to participate in a competition that could win them a contract. Ethan’s sister Kila wants what her ex-friend Reese has: Angus. Anna is longing for Brixton, Maya wants Ethan, and Reese is the girl who can have what she wants, just making her classmates jealous and wary. When the group decides to spend a weekend together – no adults present – nature will begin to take its course. Maybe. There will be food, music, and a scary psycho killer movie. And someone has written a song about – someone.
Cayden, a nature lover and supporter of small business efforts, writes smoothly, showing a particular gift for dialog, which is essential in any book about teenagers who customarily speak in secret languages and culture-swathed nuance. They often express intellect and sensitivity, more than one might expect; yet if you think about it, adolescents are constantly on the brink of discovery, and able use their minds to positive effect when they choose to. But there is also confusion – who really likes who? It takes a lot of intuition and a lot of false starts to eventually sort that out, with Kila as a central player, always, it seems, fascinated by the wrong partner.
Everything All At Once has several dominant themes, with music having a special role, since the book includes a playlist that can be accessed on Spotify to “sing along” with the action. Song titles appear in bold in the text to cue the reader, though the book flows easily without the aural accompaniment. The aspirations of the band members are a constant underpinning to the well-constructed, multi-layered plot. Teen hormones are another factor, and Cayden has orchestrated passionate temperaments mixing and matching without a loss of decorum. A couple pulsing the rhythm of a song with held hands, and Kila delicately wiping from a boy’s lips her extra thick lip-gloss provide credibly steamy, but not salacious, touches. Too, the ability to move so many through so much in such a short period of time, making a long engaging read, is further proof of the author’s crafting skills.
Teens will especially enjoy Cayden’s vibrant book, and it might be sneaked away by some parents, too, who will see in it a glimpse of their own youthful hopes, fantasies, and romances.”
–Five stars, Barbara Bamberger Scott, A Woman’s Write
The addition of a playlist sets the mood for much of the story. Through music, Cayden characterizes Kila and her friends, as they stress about life while kicking back to the alt indie tunes that fill the Everything All At Once playlist. That said, given the fast-paced nature of the novel, the music can be a bit of sensory overload. The track length doesn’t always match up with the writing, and since people read at different speeds, it could make for a lot of pauses to coordinate the reading and the music.
Aside from the logistical challenges that come with a multimedia novel, Everything All At Once shows a group of forward-thinking, fairly responsible young adults. Most of the characters are vegan. All of them are honest and respectful of each others’ boundaries and feelings. And despite the parent-less co-ed weekend, the most rowdy it gets is some kisses in the moonlight. Be warned, though: since this is only the first book in the series, there’s still more to Kila, Ethan, their friends, and their love stories than takes up the length of this novel.Kila and crew’s wild, event-packed weekend holds all the surprising twists, heartfelt declarations, and uncertainties one would hope for in a fast-paced teen romance. Music-loving teenagers looking for their next read may just find that Everything All At Once has all the tunes and the tales they can ask for.”
★ Gold Award Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards®
★ Readers’ Favorite® 5-star seal
★ Winner, 2021 Independent Press Award, Teen
★ Gold Medal Winner, 2021 Readers’ Favorite®, Young Adult – Coming of Age
★ Winner, 2021 NYC Big Book Award, Music
★ Winner, 2021 NYC Big Book Award, Teen
★ Gold Award Winner, Literary Titan Book Awards, November 2021
★ First Place, 2021 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, Arts/Music
★ First Place, 2021 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, Young Adult Fiction
★ 1st Place Blue Ribbon, DANTE ROSSETTI Awards for YA Fiction, 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards
★ Gold Medal Winner, 2020 Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Books for Teenagers
★ First Place, 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, Young Adult Fiction
★ First Place, 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, Performing Arts
★ First Place, 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, New Author: Fiction
★ First Place, The 2020 Incipere Awards, YA Romance – CLEAN
★ Second Place, The 2020 Incipere Awards, YA Literary Fiction – CLEAN
★ 2020 Story Monsters Approved! Winner, Young Adult Novels (13+)
★ 2020 Story Monsters Approved! Winner, School Life
★ 2020 Story Monsters Approved! Winner, First-Time Author
★ 2020 International Book Awards Finalist, Best New Fiction
★ 2020 American Fiction Awards Finalist, Coming of Age
★ 2020 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention, Young Adult
★ 2020 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention, Young Adult
★ 2019 Best Book Awards Finalist, Fiction: Young Adult