In researching books about teens that have a mom with breast cancer, I came across the book, “All the Answers,” by Kate Messner. The book is about Ava, a 12 year old girl who finds a magic pencil. The pencil can whisper the answer to Ava's factual question. The pencil states that she can only answer a factual question as people have free will and to those questions, she doesn't have an answer. She also cannot foretell the future. Ava had to learn to phrase her questions in just the right way in order to get an answer. At first, she uses the pencil to benefit herself and her friend, Sophie. But slowly they learn that they can help other people by knowing certain things.
As I read, all the characters were very defined, Ava is afraid of everything and her fear causes her to have high anxiety. Ava's best friend, Sophie, is high strung but somehow keeps Ava down to earth. Ava's parents hold opposite political views which cause arguments during a presidential campaign. Ava has a very smart older brother and an annoying little sister.
All the characters make for a charming story. Although minor, each character has their own conflict, which was resolved at the end of the book. The breast cancer part didn't come into the story until 2/3 through the book, but was surprised at my reaction that it wasn't a big part of the story. When I had searched on “breast cancer and teens,” I was expecting a novel that wrapped around the conflict of breast cancer. What I learned, though is that breast cancer is not a conflict. The conflict came about in Ava's own fear and worry.
Overall, it's a magical story that's definitely worth the read. To learn more about the author, Kate Messner, click here. To buy the book, please click on the link on the right side of the page.
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