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All We Could Have Been

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Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her bro Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her brother, the PTSD she now suffers from, and wanting to just live a normal life. But how can she be normal when she can’t even figure out how to just live? This is a powerful look at the assumptions we make about people. Lexie's emotional journey to separate her brother's horrific act from herself is stunning and heartbreaking. This is Lexie’s story and journey—not her brother's—and it will stay with you long after you turn the last page.


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Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her bro Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her brother, the PTSD she now suffers from, and wanting to just live a normal life. But how can she be normal when she can’t even figure out how to just live? This is a powerful look at the assumptions we make about people. Lexie's emotional journey to separate her brother's horrific act from herself is stunning and heartbreaking. This is Lexie’s story and journey—not her brother's—and it will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

30 review for All We Could Have Been

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    I miss what we were, but we aren't that anymore, and it's better to get away from the memories of all we could have been. I wanted to love this so much. Carter's I Stop Somewhere hit me so hard last year that I listed it among my favourite books of 2018. This one just didn't come close to affecting me in the same way. There are several reasons, and I think one is that I Stop Somewhere alternates between the past and a present which is told in a very poetic and unique writing style. All We Could I miss what we were, but we aren't that anymore, and it's better to get away from the memories of all we could have been. I wanted to love this so much. Carter's I Stop Somewhere hit me so hard last year that I listed it among my favourite books of 2018. This one just didn't come close to affecting me in the same way. There are several reasons, and I think one is that I Stop Somewhere alternates between the past and a present which is told in a very poetic and unique writing style. All We Could Have Been is less experimental, more of a traditional high school novel about a new girl with a dark past, a blooming romance, and unfair rumours flying everywhere. I just recently read a book that did a similar thing - The Burning - and I actually enjoyed that one more. The characters' voices here also seemed on the younger side for high school seniors. By my understanding of the American school system, that should put them at 17-18 years old, and yet they read a good 4 or 5 years younger to me. It didn't help that Lexi never seemed to develop her own distinct personality. Everything is about how she reacts to everyone else, and what they feel. It was difficult to transport myself into her mind and world. Lexi starts a new school with a new name, in order to run away from the stigma of her brother's crimes. The first half of the book is slow, and is largely made up of daily school life-- making new friends, auditioning for the school play, and some vague hints about what her brother might have done. It was really difficult to get interested in the plot. The only real driving force of the narrative was the mystery around Lexi's brother, and it is just not that exciting. The second half of the book is what happens when people at her new school find out. This is more dynamic, but I feel like I've read many versions of this story, and many of them were better. If you're looking for something similar, you could try the aforementioned The Burning, or even better, just read an early Courtney Summers's book like Some Girls Are. I was also unimpressed by the direction the romance took. It's a really big pet peeve of mine when a character's journey to self-acceptance is fuelled by a romance, and here Lexi relies on Marcus to explain why everything is not her fault and alleviate some of her anxiety symptoms. There were some things I did like. I liked how things were resolved with Chloe, and that the book had asexual rep. There were some interesting ideas about morality, complexity and judgement. Rory, especially, had the potential to be such an interesting character-- I’d really love to see a book about a Rory type; someone who is so concerned with abstract morals that they forget the moral complexity of human beings. One last thing - and this is a genuine question, not a criticism - does the thing with Scott's hearing really happen? Do law professionals truly ask 17 year olds if their incarcerated family member is capable of rehabilitation? If they do, that is messed up. A) why would they put a minor through that? and B) why they would take the opinion of a criminal’s little sister into consideration when deciding his future? Genuinely curious about this. CW: depression; anxiety/PTSD; self-harm; (view spoiler)[murder (hide spoiler)] . Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    All We Could Have Been is a genuinely absorbing and very emotional novel, with themes of grief and sense of self, looked at from a different and extremely compelling angle. Lexi is a layered and engaging character to follow along with, as she once again attempts to start anew- despite herself she starts to hope, to integrate, but her reality is never far behind her and facing the unknown can be a dark path indeed. I loved the levels of this story, one in which coming of age is a more than usual ch All We Could Have Been is a genuinely absorbing and very emotional novel, with themes of grief and sense of self, looked at from a different and extremely compelling angle. Lexi is a layered and engaging character to follow along with, as she once again attempts to start anew- despite herself she starts to hope, to integrate, but her reality is never far behind her and facing the unknown can be a dark path indeed. I loved the levels of this story, one in which coming of age is a more than usual challenge. Lexi doesn’t know how to define herself beyond that which her Brother did, a horrific act revealed in stages through her narrative. Her coping mechanisms are many but how can you be yourself when all anyone see’s is that one deeply disturbing event, when they wonder about your own personal demons, when acceptance is non existent. This then is what she faces, what I loved about this one was the pure authenticity of it, the harsh realities of living a life in someone else’s shadow. The author doesn’t mollycoddle but does offer hope through the people Lexi meets, sometimes that hope is justified sometimes not, but in the entirety of the story there are no easy answers, no palatable closures but genuine possibilities. If you want complete answers or a neatly wrapped up tale this won’t work for you but if you like to be pushed into thinking outside the box, if you want thought provoking storytelling with strong yet honestly flawed characters then All We Could Have Been should definitely be on your reading radar. Sometimes Young Adult novels explore the depths of human nature in more complex ways than adult fiction can, this is one of those times so All We Could Have Been comes very much re commended by me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elvina Zafril

    All We Could Have Been is a very emotional book. It tackles about serious issues. This book is about a girl who live with her grief, shame, and trauma. It's all because the crime that her brother did. I pity Lexie for what she has been through. I hurt so much for her and Marcus. I feel sorry for her because she needs to change name and move from one place to another just because she want to keep her identity and because of what her brother did. Lexie's parents sent her to therapy but what about All We Could Have Been is a very emotional book. It tackles about serious issues. This book is about a girl who live with her grief, shame, and trauma. It's all because the crime that her brother did. I pity Lexie for what she has been through. I hurt so much for her and Marcus. I feel sorry for her because she needs to change name and move from one place to another just because she want to keep her identity and because of what her brother did. Lexie's parents sent her to therapy but what about her coping mechanism? I understand that her parents are also dealing with their own trauma, but they shouldn't forget about their daughter. It is not enough to just say to lay-low and do not attract attention. They need to be there for their daughter. The relationship between Lexie and Marcus is what I adore. They are not the romantic couple but their relationship was built on a need of support, trust and understanding. I think everyone needs that in a relationship. Other characters in this book are just beautiful except for Ryan because he's unreasonable and selfish. I didn't really like Chloe but I respect her because she respect other;s feelings. And I loved Aunt Susie so much. She's the best motherly character I've ever known (in books). Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and this is a good read for me. Disclaimer: Thank you Pansing for sending me a copy of All We Could Have Been. This book is available in all good bookstores.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)

    ~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~ For all the ways I want to disappear and not let people see me, it still cuts me every time they don’t. All We Could Have Been was a very emotional book. While it is YA, it tackles some very adult themes and thoughts – maybe because the main characters, while still teenagers, have both experienced life events that forced them to grow up very quickly. It seems to be marketed as a thriller, which isn’t entirely accurate as it mostly focuses on ~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~ For all the ways I want to disappear and not let people see me, it still cuts me every time they don’t. All We Could Have Been was a very emotional book. While it is YA, it tackles some very adult themes and thoughts – maybe because the main characters, while still teenagers, have both experienced life events that forced them to grow up very quickly. It seems to be marketed as a thriller, which isn’t entirely accurate as it mostly focuses on the aftermath of a crime rather than the events around the crime. There are some flashback sort of memories about it though, so I guess maybe that’s why…YA thriller seems to be a hard genre to pin down. Feels I hurt so much for Lexi. For Marcus, too, but mainly for Lexie. She has been so scarred by her brother’s actions and the hatred that people in general turned on her family after his crime, that she has (as many of us do) started to believe it of herself. You ruin everything, I remind myself. There’s nothing you can keep safe. Lexie’s parents have tried, but they’ve been dealing with their own trauma, and haven’t entirely kept up with their very nearly adult daughter. Their best advice to her is to lay low, not attract attention, and please-for-the-love-of-god maybe consider not color coding her clothes to the day of the week. Despite sending her to a therapist, they seem to have no grasp of how important coping mechanisms are to Lexie, even something as small as clothing colors. I also caught a case of the feels for Lexie and Marcus together. They aren’t the most romantic couple – their relationship is built more on a need for support and understanding that they can’t seem to find from anyone else. While I wouldn’t ever *recommend* a romantic relationship based on such, the fact is that it happens often, I’ve been IN a relationship like that, and sometimes it is what people need at that time. Such relationships may not be the most lasting, but they have their place. Lexie grew SO MUCH in the course of this story. She’s not perfect, or “fixed” as some might be inclined to call it, but she makes so much progress. She keeps trying. Which, as anyone with depression or anxiety can tell you – IS HUGE. Sometimes it is so difficult to keep trying. Characters Aside from Lexie, there is an entire cast of other interesting people! This made me really happy because often secondary characters are so similar I can’t remember who is who or did what. - There is, of course, Marcus – who is supposed to be this bad boy with a horrible reputation, when all he really seems to be is a kid who did what he had to do to survive and ended up getting swept under the rug by the school system. - Ryan is Lexie’s first real friend at her new school, and he has a secret too, but one that’s entirely personal. (view spoiler)[Ryan is asexual, which has caused him some grief at school and is something he really struggles with. He has come to accept it about himself but isn’t ready to be public about it. (hide spoiler)] I really like Ryan, until about the middle of the book, when he does something that seems entirely selfish and unreasonable and very out of character, IMO. Meh. - Chloe – Chloe is somewhat petty and self-centered, but she has a respect for human feeling that a lot of people don’t. I can respect her, in the end, even if I didn’t really like her. - Aunt Susie – I love adult characters that I can empathize with. This is probably less of a big deal for the intended audience of All We Might Have Been, but as an adult reader I totally felt a kinship with her. She is Lexie’s mother’s sister, and while she is trying to be the “parent” figure Lexie’s parents want her to be, she ends up treating Lexie more like an adult. Huge props. Setting Most of the book takes place in and around Lexie’s high school – the one she’s starting at the beginning of her senior year in hopes she can make it 160 days. Normally I’m annoyed by school settings, but this one didn’t bother me, I think because it was much more character focused than it was on any particular setting. Negatives Mainly Ryan’s abrupt character switch in the middle of the story. I felt like it was unnecessary and really sad – and very NOT in character for him. It really dampened the entire rest of the book. Also in the beginning there is some weird, over-the-top descriptions that really threw me for a loop…I think maybe the author was trying to get Lexie’s sort of dry, sarcastic humor across but it really just felt strange. Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram |

  5. 5 out of 5

    MRIDULA

    A high school drama that involves all the basic elements such as jealousy, fake rumors, rivalry and a lot of dark secrets. ‘All We Could Have Been’ deals with accepting oneself, grief and a lot of other emotional trouble that is usually quite difficult to deal with during one’s teenage years. Alexia had been haunted by her brother’s crimes all her life and that made her change places and schools a lot. When she decided to stay at one place just to complete her senior year, she meets Marcus and Rya A high school drama that involves all the basic elements such as jealousy, fake rumors, rivalry and a lot of dark secrets. ‘All We Could Have Been’ deals with accepting oneself, grief and a lot of other emotional trouble that is usually quite difficult to deal with during one’s teenage years. Alexia had been haunted by her brother’s crimes all her life and that made her change places and schools a lot. When she decided to stay at one place just to complete her senior year, she meets Marcus and Ryan- both of them, poles apart in character. This is followed by the typical teenage drama and it all starts to get boring and monotonous. The whole concept of vengeance, jealousy, and fights only makes the plot more dramatic and full of grief. I could not connect with the characters. It was very difficult to enter their fragile, teenage minds and that slowed me down. As the story progressed I stopped expecting anything extraordinary and let the author take me wherever she was headed with the story. I wouldn,t say that I dislike the book, but honestly, I didn’t like it very much. I would recommend it to people who like high school drama such as Gossip Girl etc. this might be the right fit for them, as it certainly wasn’t for my adult brain.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review* After her brother committed a violent crime, Lexi's entire life changed. For the past 5 years, Lexi has moved several times to live with various relatives once people discovered what her brother did. Now, living with her Aunt, she is determined to stay in one place for her senior year of high school. This Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review* After her brother committed a violent crime, Lexi's entire life changed. For the past 5 years, Lexi has moved several times to live with various relatives once people discovered what her brother did. Now, living with her Aunt, she is determined to stay in one place for her senior year of high school. This book started off well for me, but eventually went down hill. I was initially excited about Lexi and her story and how she was trying to become her own person without being clouded by what her brother had done. Unfortunately, the 'love cures all' trope reared its ugly head and I stopped enjoying the story. It was also an insane case of insta-love. Lexi and the love interest see each other twice and then are apparently in love... I was also not a big fan of the way Ryan treated Lexi. I can't go into much detail as it spoils the book, but I found him to be extremely hypocritical.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manon the Malicious

    *2.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Lexie has been through a lot. She has has to move around because of what happened some years ago and has never been able to settle since. The trauma still haunts her and she would do anything to get her life back on track. I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't stand the main character, couldn't connect with her. i get that she'd been through a lot but I still didn't find anything really interesting about her and m *2.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Lexie has been through a lot. She has has to move around because of what happened some years ago and has never been able to settle since. The trauma still haunts her and she would do anything to get her life back on track. I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't stand the main character, couldn't connect with her. i get that she'd been through a lot but I still didn't find anything really interesting about her and most of her choices were questionable. The love story didn't hold my interest and I didn't really like the other characters either. The writing style wasn't really my thing either. I often found myself wondering why they were so many metaphors coming out of nowhere. It really wasn't for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    My review on www.bookread2day.wordpress.com A touching story. Every year Lexie chooses a different relative to live with, so she can start a new school in a new town. She one goal in life to survive a full school year with 180 days with a new name, new home, and new persona and to last 162 school days. It's strange but when Lexie changes her school, she changes her name too. This time she is Lexie Lawlor and she promises herself that this time she won't get close to anyone. Will Lexie be able to My review on www.bookread2day.wordpress.com A touching story. Every year Lexie chooses a different relative to live with, so she can start a new school in a new town. She one goal in life to survive a full school year with 180 days with a new name, new home, and new persona and to last 162 school days. It's strange but when Lexie changes her school, she changes her name too. This time she is Lexie Lawlor and she promises herself that this time she won't get close to anyone. Will Lexie be able to keep her promise to herself ? And Why does Lexie change her school frequently and her name ? How long can Lexie keep on running away before the truth catches up with her? And what is the truth ? I could picture this whole thing taking place, step by step. I'm sure it would make a good TV drama series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura Douglas

    What an interesting book. It’s about a girl who lives with the grief, shame, and trauma inflicted on her by her brother’s crime. It’s a good look into how each of us lives with the crimes committed by others.

  10. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    2.5 STARS Since Something Happened in Alexia’s family when she was twelve, she’s lived in the homes of different family members, avoiding the fallout. Now a senior Lexi lives in public housing with her Aunt Susie, determined to keep her family’s past hidden for 162 days until graduation. I loved TE Carter’s debut, I STOP SOMEWHERE and immediately preordered ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN when it became available as one of my most anticipated 2019 releases. Disappointment is too mild a word to describe my 2.5 STARS Since Something Happened in Alexia’s family when she was twelve, she’s lived in the homes of different family members, avoiding the fallout. Now a senior Lexi lives in public housing with her Aunt Susie, determined to keep her family’s past hidden for 162 days until graduation. I loved TE Carter’s debut, I STOP SOMEWHERE and immediately preordered ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN when it became available as one of my most anticipated 2019 releases. Disappointment is too mild a word to describe my feelings about ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN. Early on we learn Lexi’s brother did a Bad Thing. She’s traumatized not just by the Bad Thing, but by how people have treated her since. About 40% in, we discover the crime Scott committed and while terrible, it felt bland and anticlimactic. Additionally, we never get real insight into why and how the crime occurred. Anyone who’s been to school knows that kids can be unkind, sometimes even downright mean. Most aren’t sociopathological in how they treat their peers, despite what movies and books portray. The way one student overtly bullies Lexi would never be tolerated. I give Carter credit for giving two students some level of consciencence. Carter also did a nice job presenting mental illness, particularly Lexi’s PTSD and OCD symptoms, accurately. Carter’s word building made ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN a pleasant, but slow read. I’m still a fan and will likely preorder her next book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    T.E. Carter's I Stop Somewhere was striking and intense, and also the reason I highly anticipated All We Could Have Been . I didn't expect a replica of Carter's first novel, but something that evoked the same feelings. Something that made me stop and think. All We Could Have Been did the opposite. Alexia moves in with her aunt after five years of living with different relatives. Her brother committed a heinous crime when she was 12, and it shattered their family. Her parents sold their house T.E. Carter's I Stop Somewhere was striking and intense, and also the reason I highly anticipated All We Could Have Been . I didn't expect a replica of Carter's first novel, but something that evoked the same feelings. Something that made me stop and think. All We Could Have Been did the opposite. Alexia moves in with her aunt after five years of living with different relatives. Her brother committed a heinous crime when she was 12, and it shattered their family. Her parents sold their house and moved into a condo, her brother went to jail, and Lexi temporarily lived with a family member until someone discovered her secret at school and the harassment started. Then she vanished, relocating to a different state with a new relative and a new name. She's determined to remain in one place for her senior year and knows her aunt is her last option before heading back to her parents. She meets two boys on her first day of school and is instantly attracted to both for different reasons. Marcus is the dark and brooding bad boy who has class with other lost causes at their school. Ryan is quiet and sweet and instantly chauffeurs Lexi into his world of drama club with his voracious friends Rory, Lauren, and Chloe. From here the repeated cliches start that I've read hundreds of times. Chloe likes Ryan but Ryan doesn't like her, despite the two of them dating in the past for a short time. Rory is an advocate for injustice with a second passion for drama. Lauren doesn't have any attributes, she's just a placeholder that is initially friendly to Lexi. Lexi and Ryan grow closer as the months progress while Chloe simmers in the distance, shooting daggers at Lexi for moving in on her territory. Except Lexi realizes she doesn't like Ryan that way. She likes Marcus despite hanging with him twice in a matter of two months. Ryan informs Lexi one day that he's told all their drama friends that they're dating, without Lexi's consent. Lexi doesn't seem to care, and agrees to fake date him so everyone thinks they're a pair when in reality Ryan is asexual and wants Chloe to leave him alone while Lexi is sleeping with Marcus. Months pass, Lexi hangs with her new friends, earns a small part in a play, and life is good. She hangs with Marcus and they both talk about their horrible lives and past memories. Then Lexi decides to tell her new friends about her past and what her brother did; something she's never done before. The results are the same despite Lexi calling all the shots; her so called friends ditch and turn against her and so Lexi retreats to Marcus who remains faithfully by her side. The story was okay up until this point. After she tells everyone her secret, Ryan becomes angry that Lexi never told him first since they're best friends. He claims that his life has sucked for years and now the student body is going to focus on him and the last thing he wants is for his secret of being asexual to get out. When did Lexi's secret have anything to do with Ryan and his sexuality? It didn't. Ryan manipulates Lexi into being ashamed for not thinking of him before she bravely told everyone her past. I lost all respect for Ryan at that point. He needed to grow up, push his problems aside, and be the "best friend" he claims to be to Lexi after she just confessed something difficult. Instead he makes it about him because apparently the school is going to harass him and somehow discover he's asexual and then bully him despite Lexi only telling everyone the awful crime her brother committed. I'm still not sure how that relates to Ryan. No one is going to give him the time of day when they're gossiping about Lexi. Like Ryan, Rory's true colors also come out from hiding as she turns on Lexi, belittles her every chance she gets, and harasses her by sticking news articles and flyers on Lexi's locker and everywhere in the school. Why didn't the principal interfere at this point? Why didn't he put a stop to Rory's bullying? The whole school turns against Lexi and I don't understand why. Lexi was a kid when her brother did what he did. She had no part in it. She and her family live with enough guilt, shame, tragedy, and depression everyday because none of them knew what their son/brother was capable of. Lexi is a different human being than her brother. Why did no one get this? Even Lauren asked Lexi why she wasn't suffering and sad enough after knowing what her brother did. That is none of Lauren's business. She shouldn't be making assumptions and judging based on her own limited knowledge. How dare she tell someone how they should feel in the wake of trauma. The next issue is Lexi latching onto Marcus and making him her anchor. Sure, he supports her and understands who she is because of her past and that's wonderful, but that's the thing. Lexi shouldn't place him on a pedestal and make him her reason to get up each day and live. Relying on someone else isn't going to heal you. You have to heal yourself and not base your emotions on a person that could disappear the following day. Marcus can be there for Lexi and support her, but the story would have been stronger if Lexi had been more independent and found a healthy method of coping instead of turning Marcus into her rescuer. Life isn't a fairy tale. No one is going to rescue you when you're kicked down to the ground and screaming for mercy. You have to learn to put on armor, sharpen your sword, stand back up, and fight for yourself. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessikah Stenson

    The only thing that kept me reading was the premise which ended up being very one dimensional. It also bothered me that the dialogue in this was very robotic. Not a fun time!

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Raccoon

    I received a advanced copy of this book via NetGalley. My favorite premise for a book is just an idea. “What would it be like if I was ______ ?” In the case of the 17 year old main character of All We Could Have Been “what would it be like to be the younger sister of a murderer?” How would people treat you? When can you start living or will you always pay the price for someone else’s crime? Who do you trust with your past and when are you required to disclose it? I thought T.E. Carter did an exc I received a advanced copy of this book via NetGalley. My favorite premise for a book is just an idea. “What would it be like if I was ______ ?” In the case of the 17 year old main character of All We Could Have Been “what would it be like to be the younger sister of a murderer?” How would people treat you? When can you start living or will you always pay the price for someone else’s crime? Who do you trust with your past and when are you required to disclose it? I thought T.E. Carter did an excellent job of displaying Alexia’s pain without exhausting the reader with her insecurities and self-pity. And she managed to give Alexia a honest teenage voice and a sense of humor even in the midst of this dark subject matter. All the supporting characters are fleshed out and real even when the reader doesn’t understand their motivations or is disappointed by their actions. I recommend this to anyone that likes to read darker or heavier YA subject matter that also has a romantic storyline as well. It has a thoughtful portrayal of PTSD, self-harm and anxiety for readers that are interested in exploring these topics but not in a heavy handed way.

  14. 5 out of 5

    B220

    How would you handle it if you had to move each year because people kept finding out your past? Alexia has a secret that haunts her, that brings along crippling flashbacks, and that causes anyone who finds out about it to ridicule and ostracize her. Now, just trying to finish high school in yet another new town, she meets two boys, Marcus and Ryan. One becomes a fast friend and one becomes something more. Lexi longs to overcome her past and open up about it, but what happens if she actually does? How would you handle it if you had to move each year because people kept finding out your past? Alexia has a secret that haunts her, that brings along crippling flashbacks, and that causes anyone who finds out about it to ridicule and ostracize her. Now, just trying to finish high school in yet another new town, she meets two boys, Marcus and Ryan. One becomes a fast friend and one becomes something more. Lexi longs to overcome her past and open up about it, but what happens if she actually does? Will it be just another dismal end to a year in a new place, another failed new beginning? Or might this place, with these people be just the opportunity for healing that she so desperately desires? I will say this, when the reality of Lexi's past comes to light, it will surprise the reader. The depths of Lexi's trauma will feel real and the reader can't help but feel her pain. This is a story of dealing, healing, friendship, and moving on. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but that's a good thing. Definitely worth a read! Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This was book was my first read by the author but based on this I’ll definitely be reading more books in future. I enjoyed the story it was really emotive, the characters were well written and empathetic. Highly recommended read Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  16. 5 out of 5

    P.M.

    A lot of the reviews say this is a very emotional book. If it is, I somehow missed it. I only finished it because I finish books. I also needed something to focus on while the blasting "music" from the Rock Row concerts kept the neighborhood awake. I didn't like any of the characters except perhaps Ryan who creates lawn ornaments. I also question the idea of asking a minor sibling of a confessed and convicted murderer her opinion about his chances of rehabilitation.

  17. 5 out of 5

    legenbooksdary

    The pace of this story was painstakingly slow and it quickly made me lose interest. I find this book to be pretty cliche to me even though the main character is going through a difficult time with guilt, feeling helpless and hopeless. I really hoped that even throughout the end, Lexie wouldn't be treated so badly by the ones whom she considers to be her friends. She doesn't deserve to be treated this way especially after going through so much. They should be consoling and comforting her because The pace of this story was painstakingly slow and it quickly made me lose interest. I find this book to be pretty cliche to me even though the main character is going through a difficult time with guilt, feeling helpless and hopeless. I really hoped that even throughout the end, Lexie wouldn't be treated so badly by the ones whom she considers to be her friends. She doesn't deserve to be treated this way especially after going through so much. They should be consoling and comforting her because knowing that she has gone through all that, those who purposely hurt her are really inhumane. There's really no hope for them anymore. I wish that the author would have elaborated even further for Lexie's future and even what she plans to do after finishing high school. It may be the last thing on her mind but I find that it will make the readers feel assured that she's moving on with her life and leaving the demons behind her. The ending was really abrupt too and a bit unresolved. It ended just like that. This book has given me a perspective regarding someone who has dealt through a very rough patch and continuously living her life as a survivor and fighter. It was insightful that it gives across a message to be more cautious of our actions toward others.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Camillea

    It’s difficult to find the words to describe the ache and relief I’ve experienced reading T.E. Carter’s All We Could Have Been. Lexi’s, a sixteen year old girl, suffers from PTSD after coming home to find her brother being arrested. The aftermath of her brother’s crime sinks its fingers into every life she tries to create. This book hit me very hard. I was completely mesmerized by Carter’s prose which seemed to jump out of the pages. There is so much to unfold in this story beginning with Lexi’s It’s difficult to find the words to describe the ache and relief I’ve experienced reading T.E. Carter’s All We Could Have Been. Lexi’s, a sixteen year old girl, suffers from PTSD after coming home to find her brother being arrested. The aftermath of her brother’s crime sinks its fingers into every life she tries to create. This book hit me very hard. I was completely mesmerized by Carter’s prose which seemed to jump out of the pages. There is so much to unfold in this story beginning with Lexi’s PTSD to people and what it means to hope. As a reviewer, unpacking this novel is going to be difficult. All We Could Have Been is more than just a coming of age story. Lexi is a character who can be hard to relate to for many readers; she is such a layered character who only wants to be normal, however, she also believes her life is defined by the moment of her brother’s crime. We see this in the way people look at her through lenses tainted by her brother. It’s a very hard thing to read about because, for me, I was emotionally moved by how Lexi coped with this. Her anxious thoughts and coping methods were indeed very harmful but they were all she knew. All she could depend on and that hit me very hard. It was a familiar situation. For anyone who might want to read this book, I have to say that it is very triggering and you’ll need to take breaks in between to get through this. Please consider your mental state first before picking up this book. Lexi’s narrative as she tries to start new had me deeply invested. She is an engaging character who readers will only want to support. Honestly, although I sympathized with her, Lexi never comes off as a person who you feel pity for. You’ll feel angry on her behalf, or compassion for her. Yes, she is anxious but she is not one of those characters who sits around in self-pity. I loved her for the bravery of trying to fit in. I loved her hopeful nature and belief in people, and it is what hurt me the most. Lexi and Ryan are also very cute. I adored them and it broke my heart how Ryan reacted after learning her past. But it is also something that is so human. I don’t like what Ryan did but I also understand it, so I couldn’t hate him as a character. I really liked her relationship with Marcus which I thought was very sweet. It’s great to have a character who is a bit of cynic, and I think Marcus and Ryan were very interesting characters on their own. I wish we could know more about their stories. Even so, I love that this was a story about Lexi accepting herself rather than being accepted by people. “[…] people change when you really see them. They’re one way when it’s easy. But they change when they’re tested. When something makes them uncomfortable.” Her struggle to make friends and live normally is so painfully human and that is one part all readers will relate to. Grief, in this story, is almost so palpable. It is scary to know of the many ways it can affect one’s life but Lexi’s struggle to simply exist in spite of people’s assumption was hard. The bullying she endured really shows how people cruel people can be. In this way, Rory Powers was interesting and scary. Rory was Lexi’s friend until she found out about Lexi’s past. Rather than seeing Lexi’s grief and the psychological toll on her, Rory manipulated the situation to serve her own twisted sense of social justice. While I understood Rory’s anger, she was, at heart, a bully. People like this are real; it’s terrifying to know how one’s damage can be easily exploited for another’s gain. “Some people search out weakness. When they sense it, they find those cracks, the places you hurt, and they dig at them. They’re only happy when other people are in pieces, because they don’t know wholeness themselves.” Much of Lexi’s thoughts resonated with me. As one who also suffers from PTSD, her anxiety and coping techniques mirrored every one of mine, that I felt I was reading about myself. Again, I would like to warn you to be careful when picking up this book. It is an important but difficult read. THANK YOU TO FANTASTIC FLYING BOOK CLUB AND FEIWEL & FRIENDS FOR THE REVIEW COPY. Find me at Camillea Reads || Twitter || Instagram

  19. 5 out of 5

    Candyce Kirk

    Lexi has been running for five years. Ever since she came home that day after school and watched her brother being taken away by the police. When people see her now, all they see is what her brother did. They say Lexi has the same thing inside of her and aren't very nice about it. Hoping to start over again, she moves in with her Aunt for senior year. No one knows who she is here and she wants to keep it that way! It's clear that pretending is leaving a mark on Lexi. She has lots of anxiety, does Lexi has been running for five years. Ever since she came home that day after school and watched her brother being taken away by the police. When people see her now, all they see is what her brother did. They say Lexi has the same thing inside of her and aren't very nice about it. Hoping to start over again, she moves in with her Aunt for senior year. No one knows who she is here and she wants to keep it that way! It's clear that pretending is leaving a mark on Lexi. She has lots of anxiety, doesn't want to get too close to people, has to wear a certain color on a certain day and she's afraid to let slip who she really is. This author really wrote this so well. I felt all the emotions Lexi was going though! Her grief not only for what happened to her brother who was her best friend, but the question if she could've known it was going to happen? All Lexi wants is to feel normal. She feels guilty for feeling that way though. Why should she live normally when the family her brother devestated is left picking up the pieces. Especially when people find out and start looking at you differently, blaming you, thinking you'll do the same thing. I thought the author described this well. In the world these days, people are so easy to judge. Your family member did something, so you automatically are the same. It's so unfair to Lexi, because they don't even want to see what she's going through. It was nice seeing Lexi find her own normal. Being friends with Ryan and joining drama, even the beginning of a relationship with Marcus. While I would normally say that love doesn't really fit into a story like this, it's perfect in All We Could Have Been. Lexi needed to find someone that she truste, felt comfortable with, who didn't turn away when they found out the truth. Marcus doesn't have the most normal life either, so he was perfect. Lexi could start feeling normal and start to trust again. I think my favorite part of this book was seeing Lexi grow. Starting to come to terms that she is allowed to live her life. She isn't responsible for what her brother did and shouldn't feel bad for wanting her own normal. Just because something awful happened, that doesn't define who she is. Lexi is her own person and gets to be happy. I loved that the author built up to us finding out what Lexi's brother did. It shouldn't matter what he did, because it has nothing to do with her. All We Could Have been doesn't end with the typical happily ever after and that is a good thing. Stories like this aren't magically better in a few chapters. Not everything is perfect, so why should the ending be that way?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren the Book Slayer

    Let me start by saying that, All We Could Have Been is not the type of contemporary story that I normally read. I usually stick with the cute romance stories that, although they deal with real-world issues, generally stay pretty light with heavy doses of humor. So why did I pick-up All We Could Have Been? I can’t fully explain it. I think a big part of it is that my curiosity got the better of me. I’m not usually big into mysteries, but for some reason I just really needed to know what the “heino Let me start by saying that, All We Could Have Been is not the type of contemporary story that I normally read. I usually stick with the cute romance stories that, although they deal with real-world issues, generally stay pretty light with heavy doses of humor. So why did I pick-up All We Could Have Been? I can’t fully explain it. I think a big part of it is that my curiosity got the better of me. I’m not usually big into mysteries, but for some reason I just really needed to know what the “heinous crime” that Lexie’s brother committed was, and how it caused her to develop PTSD. For five years, Lexie has felt tainted, like the same darkness that lives in her brother, is in her too. She’s also felt guilty. She’s felt like she should have known, or that, if she had just made a small change in her routine that particular day, things would have been different. Lexie already felt horrible for something that she had no part in, and then on top of all that, she has had people of all ages, especially her peers, harassing her. They’ve blamed her for her brother’s actions. They’ve even accused her of not feeling bad enough. Lexie has been struggling to hold it together for so long, and when a fresh set of people started harassing her in All We Could Have Been, I was wishing that I could jump into the story and start reaming out the people. I wanted to yell at them: YOU DUMMIES! SHE’S A VICTIM TOO. *That’s how deeply invested I was in this story* I’m so glad I gave this book a chance! It grabbed me from the beginning, and held on tight all the way to the end. I cared for, and rooted for Lexie right away. One of the things that this book tries, and I believe succeeds in conveying to us is that it’s not just a victim’s family that suffers when something tragic occurs. What Lexie’s brother did (and I won’t spoil what it was, because this book does a great job of building the dark mystery, by throwing little bread crumbs here and there), inadvertently did a number on Lexie.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    Lexie is used to running. Each year she starts a new school, under a new name, in an attempt to get away from the inevitable bullying when people find out about the awful thing her brother did. We learn that when Lexie was twelve her brother forgot to pick her up from school. She walked home. She recalls blood, lots of it. And since that time her brother has not been part of her life - although his actions, and the consequences of those actions, permeate every part of her being. So often in a trag Lexie is used to running. Each year she starts a new school, under a new name, in an attempt to get away from the inevitable bullying when people find out about the awful thing her brother did. We learn that when Lexie was twelve her brother forgot to pick her up from school. She walked home. She recalls blood, lots of it. And since that time her brother has not been part of her life - although his actions, and the consequences of those actions, permeate every part of her being. So often in a tragic event, the focus is on those who were lost or the perpetrators. People are suspicious of the family members - how could they not know? We watch Lexie try to deal in her own way with yet another new beginning. She starts to form tentative friendships and, eventually, makes the decision to tell people the truth. Sadly, not everyone reacts as she’d hoped. This tried to explore how important it is to feel comfortable with your decisions, but it didn’t quite work for me. The group Lexie allied herself with didn’t seem like young adults (perhaps their petty immaturity was intentional), Lexie herself never really felt like a fully-developed character (again, she’s a work in progress so perhaps this was intentional) and it seemed to send a rather odd message that she only felt strong enough to start addressing some of her issues once she’d had sex. Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this in exchange for my thoughts. Based on other reviews I’ve read, this wasn’t really the book for me but I’m looking forward to reading his first one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eve beinguniquebooks

    Lexi is always the new girl, always starting over thanks to her family's situation and her dead brother. Only this time she's with her aunt and not her parents. In her latest town she needs to finally make it through a whole school year to get to stay there and make friends and her grades. As she makes friends with Ryan and gets a feel for her new school, she even wants to join the drama group and perform in their production or Romeo and Juliet. However a slip of the tongue and her real name and pa Lexi is always the new girl, always starting over thanks to her family's situation and her dead brother. Only this time she's with her aunt and not her parents. In her latest town she needs to finally make it through a whole school year to get to stay there and make friends and her grades. As she makes friends with Ryan and gets a feel for her new school, she even wants to join the drama group and perform in their production or Romeo and Juliet. However a slip of the tongue and her real name and past could just be a Google away... So when she falls for the guy she gets warned about, Marcus the guy from across the road, she finds herself in danger of revealing her identity and her brother's horrific secret... A story about discovering love, friendship and how to deal with grief when it hits full force. In the book we see how one person's actions can destroy multiple lives and the impact of devastating actions on the family in this novel are severely moving and sadly understandable. It was a gripping read and was a great book about rebuilding a life and becoming you again. Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Castro

    Rounding up to 4/5 because I may have been expecting too much from this one. I loved Carter's first book I Stop Somewhere. It was the kind of book that made you feel something, and kept you on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Because of that, I expected this book to be equally enthralling if not as dark. I liked this book. The story was interesting and the emotions were real. My only real hangups were Ryan's severe and totally selfish reaction to her secret, and her subsequent dep Rounding up to 4/5 because I may have been expecting too much from this one. I loved Carter's first book I Stop Somewhere. It was the kind of book that made you feel something, and kept you on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Because of that, I expected this book to be equally enthralling if not as dark. I liked this book. The story was interesting and the emotions were real. My only real hangups were Ryan's severe and totally selfish reaction to her secret, and her subsequent dependency on Marcus. It all felt a little juvenile and unrealistic (this coming from someone who reads almost exclusively YA). This book was a solid 3 or 3.5, but I'll admit my high expectations of this book may have colored my judgment, so like I said, rounding up to a 4/5.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    Lexi moves to a yet another new school, hoping against hope that this time she will be able to live a normal life. A life where her brother's crime wouldn't catch up with her. Is it too much to ask? This was an intriguing read, looking at the fallout from reprehensible crimes on the family of the perpetrator. Society tends to apportion blame and guilt to them, sometimes as much as they do the perp themselves. Even other adults were quick to point the finger at Lexi, who was only a child when her Lexi moves to a yet another new school, hoping against hope that this time she will be able to live a normal life. A life where her brother's crime wouldn't catch up with her. Is it too much to ask? This was an intriguing read, looking at the fallout from reprehensible crimes on the family of the perpetrator. Society tends to apportion blame and guilt to them, sometimes as much as they do the perp themselves. Even other adults were quick to point the finger at Lexi, who was only a child when her brother's crime took place. The pacing of the story was good and I liked the fact that the romance aspect wasn't 'instalove' for once. Overall, I thought it was a thought-provoking read. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Simon & Schuster UK Children's, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    3.5 Stars- Review posted on novellives.com

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tash Broom

    A really good book in my opinion. It felt realistic and emotional. It gave a strong insight on how families cope through this sort of situation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Wow, this was a really intense book. Edit - WOW! Just wow... This story has so much soul from start to finish. I found it difficult to put down even to do life things! I read it in bed, in the bath, in the car (but only when I wasn't driving), and everywhere in between. I was very close to calling into work, but then I just stayed up entirely too late to finish. Have I gotten your attention yet? Basically, you need to read this as soon as you can! Like the synopsis says, it's a strong discussion on Wow, this was a really intense book. Edit - WOW! Just wow... This story has so much soul from start to finish. I found it difficult to put down even to do life things! I read it in bed, in the bath, in the car (but only when I wasn't driving), and everywhere in between. I was very close to calling into work, but then I just stayed up entirely too late to finish. Have I gotten your attention yet? Basically, you need to read this as soon as you can! Like the synopsis says, it's a strong discussion on our assumptions about people based on the way they look or seem. We should be way less focused on how people appear and maybe try to put a little more emphasis on getting to know the heart of people. Lexie has always been harshly judged because she looks and acts differently to her peers, but that's her way of coping with her PTSD. She feels she needs to do those things in order to get through her life. The portrayal of Lexie's anxiety, depression, and PTSD are phenomenal. They are so realistic and don't shy away from the darker side of those afflictions. The author also keeps the reader in the dark for the first bit of the story, which really added to my interest. I felt like I had to keep reading until the end to find out what happened to make Lexie the way she is, and then to find out her resolution at the end. It's a massive page turner, but it does have a lot of darkness, too. I found her relationships (and the romance) made it that bit more realistic. While she didn't have to have the romance aspect to overcome her challenges, I felt the support she had because of it only added to the story. This has been one of my favourite reads of the year. It's so emotional and powerfully written. I had to give this five stars without a doubt.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kara Gemian

    Wow! I truly was not expecting to like this one as much as I did! I have no idea why though because it was unlike anything I've ever read before. Yes it is a contemporary, but not a romance heavy or mental health heavy one. It wasn't a thriller, but has thriller-like elements? Point is, it is hard for me to categorize it because it pulls from a lot of different themes instead of focusing on just one. When I first read the synopsis, I was thinking there would be thriller elements because of the cr Wow! I truly was not expecting to like this one as much as I did! I have no idea why though because it was unlike anything I've ever read before. Yes it is a contemporary, but not a romance heavy or mental health heavy one. It wasn't a thriller, but has thriller-like elements? Point is, it is hard for me to categorize it because it pulls from a lot of different themes instead of focusing on just one. When I first read the synopsis, I was thinking there would be thriller elements because of the crime that was committed and then I thought maybe there would be a lot of criminal justice work present as well. I was wrong on both accounts and I am so glad. What really made this book unique is it focused on the girl that was left behind in the aftermath of an incredible crime that was committed by one of the people she loved the most in her life: her brother. The book did not focus on the crime itself or the people that the crime directly affected, but solely on the sister and family of the criminal. I was so so fascinated by Alexia's story that I just could not put it down. It made me ask myself questions like: How would I act in the aftermath? Would I still love my brother? Would I ever be able to move on? Carter meshed crime, guilt, depression, self harm, bullying, romance, and high school drama together and created a beautiful book about how to accept things that are out of our control and how to move forward once we do. *Provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    TE Carter’s All We Could Have Been is an inside look at the effect that other people’s—particularly family—choices can have on you. Particularly relevant for young adults, it shows some of the many faces that grief can take on, especially in the context of high school, a difficult environment for many to begin with. The book touches on grief, abandonment, the cruelty of teenagers, and the relationship between family members. It was interesting, but not riveting, and hard to categorize. It was fu TE Carter’s All We Could Have Been is an inside look at the effect that other people’s—particularly family—choices can have on you. Particularly relevant for young adults, it shows some of the many faces that grief can take on, especially in the context of high school, a difficult environment for many to begin with. The book touches on grief, abandonment, the cruelty of teenagers, and the relationship between family members. It was interesting, but not riveting, and hard to categorize. It was full of shame, guilt, and a pinch of hope. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mathis

    Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her brother, the PTSD she now suffers from, and wanting to just live a normal life. But how can she be normal when she can’t even f Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed. Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her brother, the PTSD she now suffers from, and wanting to just live a normal life. But how can she be normal when she can’t even figure out how to just live? This is a powerful look at the assumptions we make about people. Lexie's emotional journey to separate her brother's horrific act from herself is stunning and heartbreaking. This is Lexie’s story and journey—not her brother's—and it will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Rating: 4/5 Penguins Quick Reasons: haunting, thought-provoking; this novel does a fantastic job of exploring the ways trauma and violence shape a person's world afterwards; T.E. Carter explores human nature in vivid, brilliant ways; the character growth and arcs vibrantly prove that even the kindest souls can have their flaws HUGE thanks to T.E. Carter, Feiwel & Friends Publishing, Netgalley, and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending a complimentary egalley of this title my way! This in no form altered my read of or opinions on this novel. And what a complex, poignant read it is! T.E. Carter explores the multiple, heavy ways that trauma and violence can shape and mold a person in their aftermath. These characters are complex and beautiful in their flaws--proving that even the kindest of souls, even those with the best of intentions, sometimes take paths of unnecessary cruelty. The fact that T.E. Carter does not try to justify that cruelty, does not try to "tidy" everything up in the end, only proves that she has an insight into human nature that most of us are too hopeful to acknowledge. There are things you don't get to escape. There are things people won't let you forget. No matter how much you tell yourself it's okay. No matter how much you want to believe there's a tomorrow where yesterday isn't always looming. There are some things that shape every minute of forever. There is a quiet, subtle plot woven throughout this book--because this story, in its essence, is more focused on the growth and learning of its characters than any action or events. The mystery is slow to unravel, leading readers down a nonlinear progression of memories and backstory, allowing us to more fully enmesh ourselves in Lexie's mind. Don't let yourself become complacent in your reading, though, dear Penguins--this book will change your outlook on a lot of things, if you allow it. I highly recommend this read to those who seek a peek into human nature...and all the ways that the actions of those we love, of those we are inspired by, might affect our daily lives. The characters are complex and realistically flawed. Dare to open these pages, Penguins, and I guarantee you will find yourself looking at the world through freshly opened eyes.

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