The sequel to SECOND DAD SUMMER stands on its own if you haven’t read the first. I reviewed the initial story in July, 2020. It was an enjoyable time spent with young Jeremiah and his split family. With EVERYTHING TOGETHER, a year has passed and Jeremiah is spending the summer with his dad and Michael who will soon celebrate their marriage. Here’s the synopsis from Red Chair Press and One Elm Books:
When 13-year-old Jeremiah arrives in Minneapolis to spend the summer with his Dad, everything feels odd. His dad’s fiancé Michael, has buried the apartment in piles of DIY wedding decorations. And Jeremiah’s best friend Sage now spends all her time with a new friend. Everywhere he goes, Jeremiah feels like the odd one out. Eager for something to get him away from all this, he starts volunteering in an English class for refugees. As summer goes on, Jeremiah discovers community in new places and with unexpected friends. As a sequel to highly regarded Second Dad Summer, Everything Together is about exploring your place in the world and all the tangled ways we connect.
Jeremiah continues his understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and his character branches out even more as he spends much of his spare time assisting in a refugee class. Hurtful opinions are brought forth both in whether two men should be getting married and others who wish the refugee community would disappear. It’s all thoughtfully presented.
33 chapters go by in a hurry and the illustrations throughout help bring the characters and story to life. Everything Together is a celebration of diversity and acceptance. With plenty of humor, it’s a solid effort and one that will bring much needed discussion with kids and their parents. Families are meant to be different and that’s okay.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: August 1, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 280
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: EVERYTHING TOGETHER by Benjamin Klas
- The chapter when Jeremiah and his dad discuss bisexuality is perfectly done. There’s nervousness, apprehension, and eventual understanding.
- Jeremiah is a great protagonist. He’s not only thoughtful but willing to see things from different perspectives. We need more Jeremiahs in this world.
- The themes never become overly political. They’re like raindrops providing a fresh perspective on hurtful attitudes.
- The cast of adult and kid characters are all strong and the Minneapolis setting provided many memorable scenes.
- A unique coming of age story and one you’ll want to share.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Benjamin Klas lives in Minnesota with his partner and their son. He spends his days block printing, playing the ukulele, parenting, and writing, although not necessarily in that order. After graduating with a degree in writing from North Central University, Benjamin went on to earn a Master of Library and Information Science from St. Catherine University. His work has appeared in several small literary magazines and a collection by queer authors.
(For more about his life and writing visit Benjamin’s web site)
I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.