All This Time is the second YA novel from Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott, bestselling authors of Five Feet Apart. Following the story of Kyle Lafferty, who on the night of his graduation party got into a heated argument with his long time on again off again girlfriend Kimberly Brooks. After explaining that they’ve been together their entire lives and how they do not know who they are without the other person, Kimberly wants to break up for good.
This argument took place in Kyle’s car during a freak storm. Heading the pond where they would often spend their time, Kyle stops the car, and a few seconds later they are hit by an oncoming truck.
Waking up in the hospital, Kyle comes to the harsh realisation that he survived the accident and Kim didn’t. Now whilst healing both physically and mentally Kyle must find a way to navigate his new life without his long-term love.
If you think this book sounds heartbreaking, it’s because it is. I found myself really feeling bad for Kyle and I wanted his suffering to end. It’s not often that I find myself so emotionally affected by a story, but this one really took it out of me. It is not often that a book makes me actually cry and this one was definitely close on multiple occasions.
Don’t be put off by its sadness, I’m just an emotional wreck. Although it is definitely sad there is an underlying sense of hope throughout the entire book. Instead of wallowing in Kyle’s sadness, you find yourself rooting for him to realise that this hope is underneath all of his pain and he will feel better someday.
The first half of All This Time is somewhat of a hard read. Loss, grief, depression, and survivor’s guilt make for an intense read which at times was overly heartbreaking. However, once Kyle meets Marley, who is also grieving a loss, he finds himself wanting to leave the house to find out more about the shy girl.
It was lovely to see Kyle and Marley’s relationship bloom over time, that was an unintentional pun you’ll understand it if you’ve read the book. At times I thought that the pacing of their relationship was a little strange and much too soon after Kim’s death, but there were so many time jumps, some being days and other weeks, that I didn’t realise that months had passed since the accident. Not that Kyle didn’t deserve to find his happiness as quickly as he was ready for.
Kyle and Marley are the only two main characters for the majority of the book, with more appearances from secondary characters near the end. Something which would have made this book even better for me would have been different perspectives. I’m not always a huge fan of books told from more than one perspective however here I think it would have made the story more fleshed out and would have given greater insight into how the accident affected other people.
Marley in particular is a character whose perspective I would have liked to have seen. She was very unusual in the beginning and we only later hear about the grief she is suffering. I think if we were to see life from her perspective it would have been easier to understand why acts how she does. The part with the duck sitting in her lap was extremely strange to me and only by getting to the end of the book did I understand why and how it could happen.
I often wondered throughout reading All This Time if it was going to shift into fantasy rather than being contemporary. A lot of things which happened did not make any sense and I thought it may have been down to magic or some kind of paranormal twist. But no, this definitely is contemporary, which I am happy about as I read too much fantasy.
I believe I have a knack for figuring out how things will end and what a plot twist will be. Although I didn’t guess the exact twist of All This Time I had my own theory which was extremely close. I obviously won’t explain it here as I don’t want to ruin the book for those who have not read it yet, but let’s just say that it was good and very cleverly played out.
It’s not often that I find myself physically reacting to a book, but every emotion under the sun was visible on my face during my read. Literal shock was plastered on my face when it came to the plot twist and I more than often frowned at a saddening moment. If that does not relate how much I enjoyed this book then I don’t know what will. I was literally moved by the story.
If you are looking for a story to pull on your heartstrings and leave you thinking about it for days on end, I more than recommend All This Time.