I am excited to share with you a number of thing. First of all, the pre-order (Kindle version only) of Everything That Was is now live on Amazon. For a limited time, you can pre-order your copy for $0.99! When the book launches February 6th, 2024, the price will increase so if you wish to test drive the story for only a buck, now is the time to do so.

But don’t just take my word for it. See what the professionals at Independent Book Review and OnlineBookClub have to say!


A powerful novel that explores the profound impact of loss and the enduring power of memories

K.R. Hansen’s Everything That Was centers on Prudence “Pru” Spellmeyer, a high schooler whose life is forever altered by the death of her older brother, Davis, just before the start of her senior year. “One perk for members like me of the Dead Sibling Club? […] A void where everything’s numb, where everything’s safe.”

Hansen beautifully captures Pru’s journey through the various stages of grief, portraying a character who seeks solace by drawing in her journal and sanctuary by hiding in the backseat of her brother’s vintage Monte Carlo. Yet, despite such coping strategies, her sense of hopelessness and despair is evident from the outset. “I consider not getting up at all and spending the entire day in bed. The parental units wouldn’t notice. BD—before Davis—they sure would have known. But now, in AD times, everything’s changed.”

The vivid descriptions of Pru’s thoughts and feelings, as well as the associated emotional depth of the story, create an immersive reading experience, fostering a readerly connection with Pru on a profound level as she grapples with the weight of loss and the desire to escape painful memories by any means possible. Of course, such a connection means that the reading experience is not always comfortable or enjoyable in the traditional sense, but it is certainly always impactful and compelling.

The story takes an intriguing and rather unexpected turn when Pru, who is determined to graduate high school and leave her small town behind (“Say goodbye to this dinky, Podunk town full of bad memories and people who know everyone else’s business”), realizes that she is failing geometry, which could result in her failing to graduate and so being trapped in town forever. As a consequence, she finds herself having to rely on Steve Nolan, her childhood BFF/crush, for academic support.

It’s an awkward situation made exponentially worse by the fact that Pru holds Steve responsible for her brother’s death and, therefore, for ruining her life. “It’s not fair. This sorry excuse of a human is still alive, walking around all smug as if nothing happened and life is perfect, and my brother isn’t.” The tension between Pru and Steve, heightened by past grievances and guilt, adds layers of complexity to the coming-of-age story.

Another unexpected aspect of Everything That Was is Hansen’s decision to incorporate dreams into the narrative. Pru regularly dreams of Davis, which initially provides her with a comforting escape from reality. “The disembodied voice was everywhere at once. It echoed off the walls. It reverberated inside her head. It took root in her stomach and sped through her veins. Hands—warm, strong, sure— slipped beneath her armpits, righting her with ease.” While disorientating, it’s clear that these dream bring Pru solace, even if just for the moment.

However, the dreams soon take on a darker dimension: “…Davis convulsed. His jaw twitched, his eyes rapidly blinking. He clenched and unclenched his fists, and a tremor rolled up his spine, bowing and jerking his back in sickening contortions.” This pushes Pru to confront unresolved emotions and to rely on Steve for more than just academic assistance. Hansen’s exploration of her dreams adds a surreal magical realism element to the novel, fostering a peculiar and sometimes unsettling atmosphere that merges seamlessly with the realistic emotional development of the characters.

Hansen’s writing style is evocative, capturing in sometimes painful detail the essence of loss and grief as well as the transformative power of both dreams and forgiveness. The depth with which the story, characters, and setting are all imbued leads to the story having real emotional resonance. In particular, the portrayal of complex relationships and the difficult process of healing is especially powerful. While the novel focuses on Pru, Hansen makes it clear that she is not the only one suffering due to the loss of Davis:

“Zombie Mom abandoned Dad at their accounting firm. Zombie Mom rarely showers, wears only her bathrobe and slippers, and hides in her bedroom all day. She randomly comes out but only to clean her precious china. God forbid anyone touches it or the prom decorations still hanging in that hideous dining room. I never see her. We don’t talk.”

Everything That Was is a bittersweet tale that clearly and thoughtfully shows just how delicate the balance between heartache and hope is. Hansen not only explores the intricacies of grief but also celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the almost unlimited potential of the human heart for change and forgiveness. It makes for an emotionally charged novel that highlights the enduring magic of dreams and the unexpected connections that can help to rebuild a shattered world.

–Independent Book Review

There are stories that touch your heart and you wish would not end. These stories are ones that will forever be in your mind and you know that one day you’ll read again. I have been lucky to have found one of those books in the young adult novel, Everything That Was by K.R. Hansen.

High school senior, Prudence Spellmeyer, has experienced something that not many can relate to in her small town. She has had the devastating experience of losing her loving, caring, and beautiful big brother. Through one terrible incident, her family and the relationships with her peers have been irrevocably changed.

Though seemingly impossible to see her brother, Davis, again, Pru begins to have dreams of him. Dreams that seem too real to be unreal. Through her creative outlet, her art journal, Pru begins to draw what she sees. Even with her loss and grief, Pru needs to deal with the idea of failing a subject in school. On top of dealing with this very-real potential of not graduating, her dreams take a dark turn, and Pru realizes that she needs the help from the one person that she’s sworn to never forgive. Her brother’s best friend, Steve, who was there when Davis’s death occurred. Can Steve help Pru through these dark times? Will she be able to interrupt her dreams of Davis in a way that makes sense?

The author does an amazing job in creating such a lovely and captivating novel. Not only is the teenage voice of Pru mature enough that even adults would enjoy reading her story, but the way the author describes each scene is as meticulous and careful as if this book is the author’s art journal. From scenes of teenage rivalries to grieving scenes, to even the almost horror-like visions Pru has in her dreams, I could picture every single moment with ease and eagerness. The dream scenes added a touch of magical realism to the already enticing plot.

Strong themes of loss, grief, suicide, bullying, trust, healing, family, and friendship expertly intertwine with each other throughout this novel. I lost a sister ten years ago this past October, and I can remember how devastating it was for me. In other words, to read about Pru’s pain and grief was relatable to me and will be to many individuals.

To point out an improvement that can be made here is quite challenging. With the story itself, I did not find a way the author could improve. There were a handful of errors in this 200+ page book, so perhaps this can be improved. However, these minor errors did not diminish my enjoyment of this novel.

Words simply cannot describe how much I loved this book! I was truly sad that it was over and wished there was more. The storytelling was impeccable, captivating, and well-thought-out. Even with the minor errors, Everything That Was by K.R. Hansen undoubtedly deserves 5 out of 5 stars.

Due to its strong themes, including discussion of suicide and familial loss, some profanity, and one scene of inappropriate groping, I would recommend this novel to an older audience. Older teenagers, young adults, and the adult figures in their lives would benefit from reading Everything That Was. Those who lived through and still enjoy the 80s might also enjoy the references to that era that are sprinkled throughout the text. I truly enjoyed this read so much that I am looking forward to reading more books written by K.R. Hansen!


If these reviews entice your mind, you can pre-order your copy today, right here: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-That-Was-K-R-Hansen-ebook/dp/B0CRSJBNPK?ref_=ast_author_dp


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