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All or Nothing    by Claire Cross order for
All or Nothing
by Claire Cross
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

Jen Maitland is a waitress at Mulligan's. Though she has pulled her life together after discovering she had breast cancer, she can't seem to make plans for the future. Her mother is bugging her to meet a man, and tries to fix her up with some peculiar dates. But she is gun-shy about relationships since her last boyfriend left her at a critical emotional time.

Zach Coxwell, who is estranged from his family, walks into Mulligan's to meet his buddies for lunch. When Jen comes to take their order, he is impressed by her. He pursues Jen, though she sends mixed signals - she enjoys her time with him but clearly doesn't want a relationship.

Jen's mother keeps trying to fix her up, and her sister tells her to bring any man at all for Thanksgiving, just to keep her mother off her back. They set a plan in motion to find a man whom their mother will hate. Zach is surprised by Jen's invitation for the family event, since she doesn't seem all that taken with him, but he decides to go anyway. The date turns on Jen when her hippy family is impressed not only by Zach's charm but by his arrest for possession of marijuana. Now, Zach wants to have a relationship and Jen's family is egging him on.

All or Nothing is a brilliant story. Jen is a sweet character going through an emotional time when she meets Zach. He, in turn, seems to be at a crossroads, discovering that he can't always just float through life. It becomes his biggest challenge to make Jen smile. The book is filled with emotion, humor and a realistic storyline that will warm your heart long after you turn the last page.

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