Book Review: Everything I Knew to be True by Rayna York


Title: Everything I Knew to be True
Author: Rayna York
Publisher: Toad Tree Press
Publication Date: May 12, 2019
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction


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Everything I Knew to be True
Rayna York
Toad Tree Press, May 2019
ISBN 978-1-9990951-0-9
Trade Paperback

From the author—

It was never easy for Cassie and her mother, struggling to make ends meet in their tiny apartment in The Bronx, but they had each other and that was enough. When her mother dies suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer, Cassie is forced to finish high school in California while living with the wealthy family of her mother’s closest friend—a women she never knew existed.

Living with the Stantons is the complete opposite of what she’s used to—the massive house, a father figure, and Cody, the spoiled, insanely good-looking son with the bedroom across the hall.

Broken with grief and struggling to fit in, Cassie meets Mila, a female powerhouse that helps her cope with a hidden past, the overwhelming present, and a shared experience no one should have to endure—a nightmare they both thought was over.

Warning: Although this book is classified as Young Adult, the author recommends it for mature readers due to explicit language.

Being a teenager is hard enough but how much worse must it be when you’ve lost your mom, the only parent you had, and then get shipped off to people you don’t know in a place that’s so different from your home? Cassie is—was—a normal teen but now she doesn’t even understand what “normal” is.

I had so much sympathy for this young girl who is faced with more upheaval than anyone can take gracefully and then even more is piled on when Cassie learns about secrets in her mom’s past that affect her directly. She’s lucky, though, that her mother’s friend and her family are so caring and that they welcome her into their home, offering it to her for her own.

While heartache and troubles certainly run through this story, I thought it was much more than that. It’s also a story of a girl’s psychological and emotional growth and how the people around her can make such a journey one that’s buffered by compassion. Nicely done, Ms. York!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2019.

About the Author

Rayna York grew up with hippie parents that liked to adventure, so being the new kid was always a challenge. Where change was the norm, books were her constant–a way to escape. As an adult, many careers came and went, but writing has always been her passion. Everything I knew to be true is her first published novel.

Author Links:

Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Instagram


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Book Review: There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

There Was An Old WomanThere Was An Old Woman
Hallie Ephron
William Morrow, April 2013
ISBN No. 978-0-06-211760-1

When children grow up and leave home they lose track sometimes of their parents’ lives and actions.  Evie Ferrante receives a call from her sister Ginger that her mother is ill and it is her turn to go home and try to find out just what is going on.  When Evie arrives at her mother’s home she finds the house in terrible disrepair.  Her mom is in the hospital, and Evie learns that when the ambulance took her mother, Sandra Ferrante, to the hospital that Sandra whispered to Mina  “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.”   Mina writes down the message.  At 91 she doesn’t trust her memory.  Mina has been Sandra’s neighbor for years.   Evie immediately turns to Mina for information and help.

Her mother has a new flat screen TV on the wall.  There is a stock of expensive liquor – much more expensive than Sandra’s usual brand.  Evie can’t understand where the money is coming from.  She attempts to investigate what has been going on in her mother’s life.

Mina is having some episodes that she can’t explain and her nephew Brian is doing his best to get her to move to a assisted living community but Mina is resisting. Mina is strong willed and lives in a small New York City neighborhood at the edge of a salt marsh and plans to live her final days there.  Mina is a character that you will love and not soon forget.

There Was An Old Woman is a story full of suspense and one you won’t want to lay down until you reach the last page and then you won’t want the story to end.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, May 2013.