All Together Now

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
All Together Now Book Poster Image
Teen musician finds her voice in touching graphic novel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

All Together Now addresses issues of creativity, inspiration, friendship, and procrastination. It offers opportunities to discuss dating and developing new interests.

Positive Messages

Middle-school is a time for exploring your identity. Artists make many mistakes before they discover their personal style.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bina is interested in music, but she's very insecure about her abilities. She feels an attraction toward her best friend, Austin, but doesn't know what to do about it. She's easily hurt but has compassion for others.

Violence
Sex

Bina and Austin explore dating, but they mostly hold hands and kiss gently. Austin's sister makes out with her boyfriend, but they're not shown kissing. Darcy and Enzo also kiss off-panel.

Language

"Pissed," "sucks."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bina's older brother admits that he's smoked weed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All Together Now is a graphic novel about middle-grade musicians struggling to work together. Creator Hope Larson continues the story begun in All Summer Long. The story focuses on the challenges of being a solo artist or being a part of a rock trio. There's no violence and only a hint of strong language ("pissed," "sucks"). Bina and Austin start dating -- holding hands and kissing gently. Two other couples are a little more hands on, but they're not shown making out. There's a mention of marijuana, but no one partakes. Bina is biracial, and the supporting cast is very diverse.

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What's the story?

As ALL TOGETHER NOW opens, middle-school musician Bina is looking for a drummer who wants to join her band. For a while, it looks as if the intense Enzo is the perfect pick, but when he and Darcy betray Bina by stealing her song, Bina doesn't know what to do next. Her life is further complicated by her attraction to her next-door-neighbor Austin, who used to be her best platonic friend. Can Bina make her musical mark on her own, or is she doomed to never write a better song than the one that was stolen?

Is it any good?

Music can be private or revealing, and this lively and heartwarming volume captures the highs and lows of making satisfying art and discovering who you really are. Writer-illustrator Hope Larson delivers a well-told follow-up to All Summer Long, continuing Bina's musical adventures in sunny Southern California. Bina can be overdramatic, but she's a winning presence -- sweet but knowing, loving toward her family and loyal to her friends, even if they don't offer the same level of support in return. Aimed primarily at middle-grade girls, All Together Now can still appeal to a wide range of readers.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how All Together Now portrays the creative process. What practices foster songwriting, writing, and other creative endeavors?

  • How can you tell whether you like someone or really like them? Is it possible for your best friend to become your boyfriend?

  • How do kids change when they start to attend high school? How can friends and family help with the transition?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels

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