July 4, 2022

REVIEW One for All by Lillie Lainoff

One for All by Lillie Lainoff
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release Date: March 8, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + Hardcover (Personal Library)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)

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I kept hearing about Lillie Lainoff’s novel One for All on social media, and I’m so so happy I took the time to read it. It’s a powerful young adult historical fiction debut, complete with themes of female empowerment, found family, and many layers of political intrigue. It’s also a beautiful example of positive disability representation that’s needed in books today. 

Tania, like the author, has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (though there is no official name for it in the book). As a result, she is sometimes affected by lightheadedness, bouts of fainting, and increased heart rate. I loved how supportive the other girls were of Tania. They promised to not let her fall or let her condition affect her ability to serve as a Musketeer, and they kept their word. Every person with a disability needs friends like these in their life. I’m not affected by POTS, but I am chronically ill and disabled and I felt so seen by this book. I want to note that while the support of the female musketeers covers Tania and her disability, it also extends to other aspects of life (like how Aria and Portia end up acting on their feelings for each other). A found family tale at its best!

I’m not familiar with the original The Three Musketeers story, but that didn’t interfere with my ability to follow and enjoy the events of the book. I could see where the influences from the original novel came into play. The worldbuilding was *chef’s kiss* beautiful. The setting was awesome - Ms. Lainoff did a great job with painting the picture and never bordered on info dumping. She also wove a story that made sense for the chronological setting but could still be understood and appreciated by modern readers. For example, given the time period that the story is set in, it was not “proper” for females to wear trousers. The musketeers made it work though (and all of their rationales and methods made sense). I thought it was cool how the girls made Tania special leggings to help with her condition, and how they designed their dresses to hide their weapons. I’ve always thought the dresses of the time period were unnecessarily poofy (I would never be caught dead in one), but now I know the true purpose of all those layers is to hide your fencing sabers (which, for the record, is an amazing reason to tolerate dressing up like that). 

The narrator Mara Wilson did an amazing job with the audiobook. As a side note unrelated to my rating of the book, I absolutely love the story of how she became the narrator (she was the author’s dream narrator from the start, and so many things worked out to make it happen). 

Overall, a fantastic debut novel from Ms. Lainoff! If a gender-bent version of a classic tale (The Three Musketeers) sounds like something you would enjoy, then go pick up the book and join the Sisterhood of the Stab Stab today! Fingers crossed this book gets picked up for a full series, because I would love to see what happens next for Tania and the other Musketeers. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Death of a Parent, Grief, Brief References to Pedophiles, Attempted Assault, Ableism, Bullying

About the Author

Lillie Lainoff is a writer, a fencer, and now, a writer who writes about fencing. She doesn’t understand why her parents gave a clumsy eight-year-old a saber, but she’s thankful for it every day. She grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from Yale University in 2018, where she was managing editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine and a writing partner at the Yale Writing Center, as well as a Div I athlete and NCAA Championship competitor. She is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers. Her writing has received awards from the Los Angeles Review, Glimmer Train, and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and has been featured in The Washington Post Outlook and Washington City Paper, amongst other places. She received her MA in Creative Writing Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia. One for All, her debut novel, will be published by FSG in 2022.

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