One for All

One for All by Lillie Lainoff, 400 pages, Can be read in a couple of evenings depending on your speed, Young Adult

“I was nothing; I was an amalgamation of wrongs.”

~Tania, p. 32

(Thanks to Lucy for help taking this photo! Not exactly how I wanted it to look but we had fun taking it!)

One for All is not normally a book I’d read. While I know of the musketeers, I’ve never actually read the book or read or seen any derivative of the story (unless you count the Animaniacs one). So, there was no real reason for me to read this. So why did I read it then? Honestly? Because I really liked the #sisterhoodofthestabstab And I wanted the sword bookmark that came with preorders. On a more serious note, a good friend has POTS and I was hoping reading this book, whose main character also has POTS, would help me better understand her life.

A photo of the book One For All blending into someone wearing a red dress with part of their legs visible.

For so many different reasons, I am so glad I not only read this book, but also bought myself a copy. It is so fantastically good and I’m glad this my introduction to the musketeers. At its core, One for All is about sisterhood, found family, and finally getting the support you need to live a full and vibrant life. And boy, does Tania get all three of those in spades!

I didn’t really know much about the plot when I started and was very pleasantly surprised to learn that it was essentially a mystery. At the age of 16, after a series of really awful events, Tania—our brave, brilliant, and POTSie main character—finds herself training alongside another group of girls about her age. Her mission? Help the musketeers solve a mystery that, if left unsolved, could upend the French empire. Except, they must do so in secret. Because, you know, sexism. 

The set-up for how we get here is actually a great twist on an old trope. It is not unusual for girls of her age in this time period (1600s) to be sent off to finishing schools. In this case, however, the finishing school is a cover for the underground training school for the Mousequetaires (as they’re called). As someone who loves period dramas, I enjoyed how Lainoff flipped the script so that lessons on flirting and seeking suitors were needed not to catch a husband, but to be an effective spy. The descriptions of the clothing and the fencing scenes were so well done, I could imagine all of it down to the smallest details.

When it came to Taina’s POTS symptoms, it really does give you a good idea of what it must be like to live with POTS. The descriptions were so clear. The ableism Tania faces is disheartening and angering. But, one of the reasons the sisterhood/found family story works so well is because we also get to see what happens when her disability is seen as one part of her life rather than the thing that defines it AND when she is surrounded by people who love her just as is rather than wishing she was someone else.

I really hope we get a sequel. Because I really need to see what else this awesome crew gets up to.

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