Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book #69: All or Nothing

Title: All or Nothing (Book #3 of the "To Save a Life" series)

Authors: Jim & Rachel Britts

Date started reading: May 9, 2012
Date finished reading:  May 11, 2012

Publish date: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9850626-0-6
Number of pages: 384

Official summary: "Jake Taylor and Amy Briggs planned to spend the rest of their lives together. But the traumatic loss of Jake’s childhood best friend during their senior year of high school set in motion a series of events that turned both of their lives upside down. Separated by thousands of miles as they pursue their dreams at college, Jake and Amy find their paths moving in very different directions. As Jake lives out his fantasies of playing college basketball for the University of Louisville, Amy begins to uncover an exciting calling of her own. But as Amy hones in on her new passion, Jake loses focus on his relationship with God and realizes that he needs to make some drastic changes to get back on track. As college graduation looms in the future and Jake and Amy’s lives take exciting twists and turns, there is one thing holding them both back from moving forward — each other. When their dreams seemingly make it impossible for them to be together they confront life’s greatest question: Am I willing to sacrifice it all and trust God?" (

How I obtained the book: Purchased for $15.98 ($9.99 plus shipping) from the authors' website:

Memorable quotes/scenes:
  • "Do you know how many girls would give anything to find an attractive, charming, godly man? Just think how lucky you are that your problem is choosing which one." ~ Cari to Amy 
  • "That girl's like your personal Mona Lisa. She's staring at you no matter where you are in the room." ~ Grant to Jake about Amy's photo
  • "Love is a universal language ... especially with young children." ~ Jodi
  • "For the first time, the grossness of casual sex with multiple partners really hit Jake. He'd already known it was wrong and really regretted it, but now he was just disgusted by it. No wonder God designed the intimate sharing of sex to be constrained within the boundaries of a committed marriage relationship! People didn't willingly share each other's toothbrush, so why was everyone so obsessed with sharing each other's bodies? It was repulsive."
  • "Sin has a way of sinking its claws deep, making us pay long after the wrong was committed." ~ Jake
  • "Truth was such a complex thing." ~ Amy
  • "Money doesn't make someone generous; it merely reveals generosity." ~ Buddy 
  • "The only thing that really matters in life is your faith. Without faith, we're toast." ~ Jake
  • "When it comes to love, Jake, it's all or nothing. Do you love her?" ~ Buddy
    "You know I do." ~ Jake
    "I'm almost afraid he loves her too much." ~ Grant
    "That's impossible. Real love is one hundred percent or it's not the real thing." ~ Buddy
    "Quick grammar lesson. When you say you love someone, what part of speech is love?" ~ Buddy
    "Verb?" ~ Grant
    "Bingo! That just about says it all, huh?" ~ Buddy
    "Wait, I don't get it." ~ Jake
    "If love is a verb then it's an action not a feeling." ~ Grant

My commentary:
  • I know the authors had some trouble getting this book published because the second book of the series ("Jake's Choice") didn't sell as well as the first, and I'm so very glad that they figured out a way to get it out there. I wanted them to be able to finish Jake and Amy's story for themselves... and for the fans of the series. Frankly, to me it was no surprise the second book didn't sell as well as the first. The first one's sales were driven a lot by the movie by the same title. DUH. I have seen rumblings on Twitter and Facebook that "Jake's Choice" may be made into a movie now too, and I pray that it does. The first movie was life-changing, not only for me but tons of other people I know who have watched it.  
  • I've been having fun in the last 8 months or so going into the local Barnes & Noble stores and grabbing copies of "To Save a Life" and "Jake's Choice" and sneaking them into the displays of Sara Shepard's "The Lying Game" book series. I figure that everyone who watches "The Lying Game" TV show and decides to read the books too will recognize actor Randy Wayne on the cover of the Britts' books (Randy was in the movie) and may pick up the books. I am sure that the Barnes & Noble workers are starting to hate me, but I feel like God's calling me to try to get these books into teenagers' hands, and if even one person reads these books because I did that, then well, I regret nothing... 
  • Okay, so onto this book... There were some minor editing errors throughout the book. Many people probably wouldn't have even noticed them, but I did. Of course, I work as a copy editor, so I get paid to notice those things. Despite that, the story was so powerful that I was easily able to overlook the little errors. Plus, those things can easily be fixed in any future printings. 
  • The Britts have this amazing power to make you completely question everything in your life and reconsider if you're doing what you should be doing. Lately I've tried to stick primarily to totally fictional stories (like vampires, witches, werewolves, etc.) because sometimes it's hard for me to delve deeply into my own emotional pain. I knew reading this was going to be hard, but I was waiting months for this book to end up in print so I could read it no matter what it made me question. This series deals with so many tough subjects -- suicide, teen pregnancy/abortion/adoption, drinking, drug use, self-injury, sexually transmitted infections, domestic violence, child abuse, extramarital affairs, just to name some of them. It's a book series that I wish would've been written 10-15 years ago when I was younger. I've attempted suicide (more than once). I've self-harmed (starting at age 12 and 18 years later I still struggle with the desire to cut myself again). I was abused by my father throughout my childhood, and then I ended up marrying a man who makes some serial killers seem sane. I used to drink and use casual sex to escape my emotional pain. From my own experiences, I can honestly say this book series needs to be put in the hands of every teenager and college student ... and their parents. These books -- and the movie(s) -- have the power to help so many people.
  • When I started reading "All or Nothing," I really wasn't certain if I thought Jake and Amy should wind up together as a couple or not. In real life, I know very few couples who were high school sweethearts and can actually last into adulthood, but both Amy and Jake really come of age and mature into good Christians and become really great for each other. They both find a way to pursue their dreams, serve God, and be together. Their relationship definitely wasn't a fairytale, but it was very real and their love is something to strive for. 
  • I absolutely love how the authors basically took Jake's path to God full circle. He wound up in basically the same spot that his youth minister was in when the first book started.
  • I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a photo of how things look at my house when I'm reading. I have three dogs, two of which (if not all three) are always right there with me on the couch, no matter what time of day or night I'm reading. This photo was taken at 3 a.m. as I was almost finished with "All or Nothing."  Reading is definitely a family affair in my house (or rather me reading/them sleeping is a family affair).

Buy the book:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO much for this fantastic review. We are so glad our story touched you, and we, too, hope it can touch many more.
    --Rachel Britts :)