A stunning debut novel about a teenage girl and her mother as they grapple with first love, family secrets, and tragedy.
Maddy is sixteen. Smart, funny, and profound, she has loyal friends, a mother with whom she’s unusually close, a father she’s never met, devoted grandparents, and a crush on a boy named Jack. Maddy also has cancer. Living in the shadow of uncertainty, she is forced to grow up fast.
All the Water in the World is the story of a family doing its best when faced with the worst. Told in the alternating voices of Maddy and her mother, Eve, the narrative moves between the family’s lake house in Pennsylvania; their home in Washington, DC; and London, where Maddy’s father, Antonio, lives. Hungry for experience, Maddy seeks out her first romantic relationship, finds solace in music and art, and tracks down Antonio. She continually tests the depths and limits of her closeness with her mother, while Eve has to come to terms with the daughter she only partly knows, in a world she can’t control.
With unforgettable voices that range from tender to funny, despairing to defiant, this novel illuminates the transformative power of love, humor, and hope.
About the Author
Karen Raney recently gained an MA in creative writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a distinction and was awarded the 2017 Pat Kavanagh Prize for All the Water in the World when the novel was still a work in progress. Born in Schenectady, New York, Raney attended Oberlin College, graduated from Duke University, and worked as a nurse before moving to London to study art. She lives in London, and teaches at the University of East London.
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"A poignant story, centered on a mother and daughter who is dealing with a serious illness. Through emotive prose, Raney examines their relationship and how the impacts of the illness ripple through the family." —Schenectady Daily Gazette
“In the midst of dealing with her relationship with her mother, learning to love for the first time, and all of the pains of being 16-years-old, Maddy is also diagnosed with cancer. Told between alternating chapters from Maddy and then her mother’s perspective, the story is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking.” —Debutiful, 6 Debut Books to Read This August
“Domestic-fiction fans and readers who loved YA novels like John Green's The Fault in our Stars (2012) and Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything (2015) will fall for All the Water in the World, which is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure. Unafraid to probe the complexities of parenthood and partnership, Raney is an author to watch.” —Booklist, starred review
“An exquisite tracing of the tangled lines of mother-daughter love, loss, and grief.” —Kirkus
“Raney’s ardent debut examines love and loss through the eyes of Maddy, a vibrant 16-year-old girl diagnosed with cancer, and Eve, her loving mother… Raney’s pleasing tale is a deep, genuine investigation of memory, the pain of loss, and the strength of a mother’s love.” —Publishers Weekly
"All The Water in the World is a book about life and death, joy and grief fused together, both affirming and heartbreaking. In Eve and teenage Maddy, Karen Raney has created a mother-daughter relationship as fraught and passionate as any in recent memory. 'Do everything all at once' is Maddy's philosophy as well as the motto of this kinetic and beautiful book." —Darcey Steinke, Author of Flash Count Diary and Easter Everywhere
“With a lyric and suspenseful intensity reminiscent of Sue Miller, Karen Raney has written an astonishingly moving novel about the boundaries and boundlessness of life and love.” —Joanna Hershon, author of A Dual Inheritance and The Outside of August
“An extraordinary achievement for a first novel: tender, heartfelt and heart-breaking." —Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill
"Karen Raney is a writer of rare gifts—nuanced characters, shimmering prose, and a riveting story. All the Water in the World is heart-rending in its power and gorgeous in its telling, a deeply rewarding and wholly unforgettable debut novel." —Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This and Corpus Christi