Friday, April 9, 2021

All That Really Matters

Title: All That Really Matters

Author: Nicole Deese

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Genre: Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fiction


 Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a big paycheck each month. When her manager-turned-boyfriend says she has an audition to appear as a host on a makeover show that nominates underprivileged youth, her dream of further fame seems to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

When her manager-boyfriend convinces her to partner with a local organization, she begins volunteering with a summer youth program. The program's director, Silas Whittaker, challenges her at every turn, but she swiftly grows more attached to the kids--and him--every day.

As Molly experiences an acceptance unlike anything she's known, she wrestles with the lies she's been believing about herself for years. She thought she knew what mattered most in life, but maybe she's had it wrong this whole time, and there's more to being truly seen than what she's built her entire life on.

My Review:

 All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese is a stand-alone novel. This is Nicole's eighth novel. Her novels are filled with  humor, realism, and hope. She lives in Idaho with her family.

Molly is a quirky, glass half-full gal, who loves beauty and fashion. She has built a huge social media platform by posting advice videos on all things fashion related. She has worked hard to get where she is and has interesting family dynamics. Molly has grit and determination, but she is also pretty used to getting her way. When she does not immediately get what she wants, it challenges her to dig deeper and really think about how to accomplish her goal, making you admire her determination.

Molly's boyfriend/manager Ethan is a character that you take an immediate dislike to. From the beginning of the book, you get the sense that he is more about Molly's career than he is about Molly. That is all that is worth saying about him.

Silas is your stoic, strong, take-charge, swoon-worthy character, that you can't help but like immediately. His mission to keep teenagers and young adults off the streets, that have aged out of foster care, immediately touches your heart. The care with which he conducts himself and the standard he sets for the youth are note-worthy. While you want to dislike him when he initially meets Molly, you simply cannot. You can see where he is coming from and admire him for doing what he feels is best.

All That Really Matters has quite a few supporting characters. I normally prefer books that have only a few characters, but the characters are woven so intricately into the story you do not notice there are so many of them. While Molly and Silas are the main characters, this book would not be what it is without Miles, Glo, Val, Tucker, Ethan, Wren, and that whole gang, plus a few more. 

The story line is incredible. From character development to the dialogue, it all flows effortlessly. There were some surprises, lots of humor, tender moments, and some moments that gave me goosebumps. The time devoted to each character and the depth of emotions that you feel as you read the book gives you such a sense of realism that you are invested in the story. 

I have a heart for children in foster care, and the amount of time spent on the youth in this story was fantastic. The story and the message behind it are relevant and timely, not just with social media, but with supporting and encouraging others on this journey. 

Molly and The Duke of Fir Crest Manor (Silas) both grew a lot during the story. It was fascinating to see them resolve problems that had been holding them back from their full potential, and growing into who they were meant to be. 

There are so many layers to All That Really Matters! There is no way to adequately put into words all that I thought about this novel. I had a hard time putting it down, I just wanted to devour it. I highly recommend it to anyone as this is a book that you don't want to miss! 

I am grateful to Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read this novel. I was not required to provide a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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