All Things to Everyone by Aldred Chase
Length: Short (141 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon
Fifteen year old Paul Blake is not looking forward to spending quality time with his grandmother, who has never taken an interest in him. This time however, things are different because he reveals to her an ability to see the supernatural. She wants to train him but she is not the only one who is keen to help him develop his talents. He soon realizes that he can’t be all things to everyone and he will have to make some difficult decisions. His choices will lead him into a terrifying fight for survival that will test his skill and courage to the limit. All Things to Everyone is the first book in the Sinister Sydney Series: stories where the supernatural pierces the thin skin of modern life in Sydney.
Paul Blake is an unusual person – but possibly not quite as unusual as he at first believes. You see he has these abilities, and they do seem pretty singular. They set him apart, a little too much. He also is not having the easiest time of it, as his Mom uproots them and they end up living with ‘Gran.’
Gran, as it turns out, is not the boring old lady he believed her to be. It starts with her cane …
While this charming tale kicks off in a friendly, conversational tone, it does not have most gripping of openings. We can see Paul has reason to less than satisfied with life, but really, he’s a nice enough guy. Even his Mom and Gran aren’t so disagreeable. Just as you start to believe that probably nothing much is going to happen, they sit down for tea and suddenly, you realize that Aldred Chase has lured you, the reader, right in.
Paul is fast acting and circumstances are, well, reporting actual circumstances might reveal too much; but circumstances are both and strange and unpredictable all at once. No spoilers here: you have to read All Things To Everyone to find out the details. Once you reach the stage where unpredictable things start to happen, you will not be able to tear yourself away.
The story does ramble around, from hauntings to disappearances; some motivations are unclear (in fact, it isn’t always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys) but the characters are interesting, and events unexpected!
Suffice to say All Things to Everyone is unpredictable and fun; and runs the gamut from the weird to the grotesque. This is a great fun read for anyone really, its not just for kids! Also, kudos to the cover design–it fits wonderfully!