Book Reviews,  Realist Fiction

Book Review: Everything Is Free

Everything is FreeEverything is Free by Adele Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always felt that shopping malls were little self-contained worlds. Author Adele Ward really drives that concept home as her protagonist, a pretty young girl named Mel, decides to make the Greenvale Shopping Centre her new home, quite literally. I envied her ability to instantly create a luxurious lifestyle, deftly and discreetly using all the resources the various stores had to offer.

But, of course, her perfect lifestyle can’t last forever. Even as careful as she is, she’s been noticed. And as you’ll soon learn, she’s not the only one finding escape and solace in Greenvale. I can say that without worry that it’s a spoiler because it’s not what you think.

The story is filled with a richly developed variety of characters, and you’ll get to know most of them quite intimately. This is a story filled with voyeurs, and *you*, dear reader, are one of them. Nothing escapes the watcher’s eye, right down to the minute details of personal body habits. It’s a bold move on the author’s part, taking us so painfully close to so many people.

The plot starts out simplistic, but constantly adds new layers, new problems, new situations, right up to the end. Some books are a rollercoaster ride. Everything is Free is more like the tick-tick-tick of the car climbing the rollercoaster tracks, slowly reaching for the top. I’ve not read a book like this before. I’m not sure I’d want to read another like it – I’d rather have it remain a singular experience.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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