***L’esprit de l’escalier. “It’s French for the feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the witty things you should have said”. If only I could say this concept is unfamiliar. Alas, it is not. I also quite frequently think of all the wonderful things I could have said in reviews, assignments and exams etc. I really, really hope Bowe doesn’t feel there was anything which she could have said better in this, because it felt perfect. There are some books I love because of the plot, or the characters, or the writing. And then there are the ones which I respond to on a purely emotional level. There are some authors who have managed to beautifully and perfectly combine all three of these things in such a way that I simply cannot help but love a book from the very first page. In case you hadn’t already guessed, this is how I feel about All This Could End. It is incredibly difficult for me to articulate why exactly I loved this book so much, but there was just something wonderful about it. Spencer and Nina were wonderful characters and I loved their cute, slightly awkward interactions. As dual narrators they worked incredibly well, both offering complex personalities. I really felt for both of them. They were both trying to cope with difficult families and find their place in the world. I recognised aspects of myself in both of them and this is something which always appeals to me. The emphasis on Spencer and Nina’s families was also something I enjoyed about this novel. Both families were slowly falling apart and I appreciated the way Bowe portrayed how each person was trying to cope with their own grief or come to terms with and justify their actions. I loved the structure of the novel, with its ‘slice of life’ segments. For me it was something new and fresh. I was intrigued about what went on in the missing months, but enjoyed seeing the changes in both characters. I felt like these were emphasised by the passing of time; sometimes things stand out more when not seen day by day. The writing was quite concise and flowed well. Although it was heavy with internal dialogue and reflection, I never felt bogged down and found myself constantly torn between needing to find out what happened and wanting to savour every sentence. All This Could End was a book I responded to on an emotional level; it was a compelling, yet beautifully written novel with characters I completely fell in love with. It’s a story about two people, and their families, slowly falling apart and struggling to find their way. It’s also one of my favourite books of the year. I can’t wait to see what else Bowe has in store for us.
Thank you to Text Publishing for providing a copy of the book for review.