All I Need

Love is a journey with endless possibilities.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.

All I Need, by Robert McGill

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Blurbs

Grab your blankets and sunscreen now: This is an ideal summer beach book.

Captures the rush of teen love and lust...Colasanti's attention to detail is what makes her readers return.

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An unlikely young couple finds true love during summer break—but can it withstand their different lives?

Skye spends her summers vacationing on the Jersey Shore in her family’s large beach house, positive that nothing interesting will ever happen. Unexpectedly, she meets Seth at a party on the last night of the summer, and the chemistry is immediate and intense. A plan to exchange contact information goes awry, and they part not knowing how to find each other. Fate reunites the couple the next summer, and they decide to make their relationship work. Well-to-do Skye and Seth, a boy of lesser means, must find common ground despite their very different lives: Seth worries endlessly about money and paying for his Ivy League education, while Skye is still working through high school dramas. As Seth and Skye feel their way through the trials and tribulations of young love, the world marches on around them, and the two of them shakily navigate how to find their place together in it. Romantic and swooning plotlines filled with chance encounters soon dissipate into the real-life logistics of making a relationship work. Readers shouldn’t fret: The romance ramps back up to a swelling crescendo, sure to leave enthusiasts sighing and reaffirmed about the power of true love.

Grab your blankets and sunscreen now: This is an ideal summer beach book.

Skye is in love with love. All the affluent high-school sophomore needs, when she summers at the shore, is sand, snow cones, and true romance. At the last party of the season, she meets Seth, who comes from a less wealthy family and is heading to college, but they catch only each other’s first names. Over the following drama-filled year, both wonder if they will ever rekindle their initial attraction. Chapters that alternate between Skye’s and Seth’s first-person accounts feature a cast of best friends, roommates, wingmen, and an increasingly greater economic divide between the star-crossed teens. True-believing young readers need not worry whether love conquers all, though, and Colasanti brings a sweet resolution for her characters, who find all they need.

Like her previous best-selling books, the author’s seventh novel captures the rush of teen love and lust in ways that 12- to 18-year-olds everywhere will devour. Colasanti's attention to detail is what makes her readers return. All I Need is an idealistic love story that’s ideal for summer.

Skye wants what every teen girl does: A real love connection. She aches to be swept off her feet by her soul mate—that perfect guy, the one she’s so in sync with he can almost read her mind. And she’s been waiting. For years. Every summer at the beach brings the same crew, boys with killer abs but little karma.

Then she sees Seth, and she knows he’s something special. The two have a magical 24 hours together, including a butterflies-in-your-belly first kiss, before being unexpectedly separated. Neither knows how to contact the other, but they don’t forget the intensity they shared. When they finally find each other again the next summer, they’re ready to put their feelings to the test.

The rest of their relationship is a roller-coaster of romance and reality served up by Susane Colasanti. Like her previous best-selling books, the author’s seventh novel captures the rush of teen love and lust in ways that 12- to 18-year-olds everywhere will devour. The tale is told in alternating voices — one chapter is from Skye’s point of view, while the next shares Seth’s side—giving readers a glimpse into each character’s hopes, worries and angst.

Colasanti’s attention to detail is what makes her readers return. You almost can taste the spearmint lemonade and watermelon tangerine snowballs served up at Cold As Ice. You feel the fun of cramming into a little photo booth and capturing a slice of summer on the celluloid strip the machine spits out. And you feel the tension—awkward!—when Skye’s parents grill her a bit about whether she’s spending too much time with Seth.

In spots, Colasanti’s novel feels a little far-fetched. Would the buzz of spending 24 hours together really linger for an entire year? Would the parents of even The Most Responsible High School Girl in the World let her travel a few hours by car and spend the night on the campus of her college boyfriend? What about a weekend road trip just for two? But readers—especially the young adults who will eagerly eat this up—will be more than happy to wave aside a little reality. All I Need is an idealistic love story that’s ideal for summer. What’s not to love about that?

It always comes down to timing—with love, jobs, even what books we feel like reading.

Like so many, I wish I could be down the Shore now, but on a week when work commitments make that impossible, reading about Sea Bright as the backdrop for a young adult novel was good timing.

There’s a sweet earnestness to All I Need, which is neither for the cynical nor those who can’t remember the exquisite pull of first love. In the case of Skye and Seth, it may also be a last love.

They could be that rare couple who meet as teenagers and stay together. The book’s device is to tell the romance from Skye’s perspective and, in the next chapter, from Seth’s. All chapters are song titles, from “Bring on the Night” (The Police) to “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” (New Kids on the Block).

Susane Colasanti, who grew up in Peapack-Gladstone, does a good job of getting inside the head of a girl about to start her senior year of high school and a boy about to go to college.

Lately, young adult novels may have eclipsed memoirs as the must-write book—but like books of any genre, they must be written well to hold readers.

The lightness of this story springs from the fact that Skye is looking for the sort of loving relationship her parents enjoy. If that’s sappy, so be it. There’s nothing preachy about the book, and there are worse things than having a teenager aspire to a healthy relationship.

Here, Skye watches her parents just before the annual end-of-summer party:

“My parents are sitting together on a blanket. They’re staring out at the ocean. Mom leaning against Dad, still happy to be married after twenty-one years. That’s all I need. To find a soul mate to share my life with. To have a love so epic it will never die.”

She grew up cosseted in Newfoundland during the school year and in one of the fancier houses in Sea Bright in the summer. Through most of the book, Seth’s parents are separated. He’s from West Orange and his dad’s place in Sea Bright is more of a shack.

Skye and Seth meet on the beach at twilight; young and gorgeous, they fall in love immediately. But they have to part and don’t get to say goodbye.

They pine for each other possibly the way only teenagers can, though they do get on with their lives. Skye has two best friends; one forever on a diet and an aspiring fashion designer, the other a more caustic, budding filmmaker.

Seth and Skye both become briefly involved with others. He is at Penn, where he has to work to help pay for school. It wasn’t as if the mansions at the beach compared to his ramshackle place hadn’t already taught him the stark realities of money. But being at an Ivy League school, where roommates and friends don’t have to work, accentuates his lack of funds.

Seth and Skye get back together, and though she never flaunts her money, she naturally has it easier. When Skye visits him at school, she takes a taxi from the train station; he always walks and one day thinks:

“Whenever I walk to campus from the train station, an intense feeling floods over me. It’s like this strong sense of coming home. Crossing the Walnut Street Bridge to Center City is powerful, too. If freedom, excitement and possibility all got together and decided to become an emotion, that would be the feeling I get. By the time I hit Rittenhouse Square, I’m buzzing over the potential awesomeness of it all. Growing up in suburbia will do that to you. One whiff of city life and you’re like an uncaged animal running wild.”

Skye, meanwhile, has to navigate that heinously stressful college application process. Her parents, liberal and trusting as they are, are not thrilled that she spends hours each night talking with Seth and traveling whenever she can to see him. There’s some friction, but nowhere near the drama that can explode between parents and teenage daughters.

Though they endure bumps along the way, you know Seth and Skye will make it for all the right reasons. It helps that their timing was excellent—as was Colasanti’s, for setting a novel at the Shore, just when so many of us long to be there again.

Videos

In this video interview, I discuss summer love, soul mates, and my inspiration for writing All I Need.

Check out the All I Need book trailer, complete with ocean waves.

Playlist

While I was writing All I Need, songs of my past summers kept playing in my head. The story is a sweet summer romance filled with old-school nostalgia. It’s told from the alternating perspectives of Skye and Seth. Seth is all about the 80s (and some late 70s) music. He believes that the best music was written back then. So I knew that the All I Need playlist had to include classic summer songs from when I was a teen. Listen to the playlist on Spotify to get your retro jam on.

1. “The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley

2. “Perfect Way” – Scritti Politti

3. “Heart of Glass” – Blondie

4. “All My Love” – Led Zeppelin

5. “My Sharona” – The Knack

6. “Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats

7. “Alive and Kicking” – Simple Minds

8. “Bye Bye Love” – The Cars

9. “Take It on the Run” – REO Speedwagon

10. “If You Leave” – OMD

11. “Endless Summer Nights” – Richard Marx

12. “Head Over Heels” – Tears for Fears

13. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” – Foreigner

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Excerpts

You can read the first two chapters of All I Need in my Scribd Chapter Sampler.

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