I'll Take Everything You Have


By James Klise

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$15.99 CAD

From an Edgar Award-winning author, this historical noir novel follows the life-changing summer of sixteen-year-old Joe Garbe as he discovers queer community in 1930s Chicago and gets caught up in the city’s crooked underbelly.

In the summer of 1934, Joe Garbe arrives in Chicago with one goal: Earn enough money to get out of debt and save the family farm. Joe’s cousin sets him up with a hotel job, then proposes a sketchy scheme to make a lot more money fast. While running his con, Joe finds himself splitting time between Eddie, a handsome flirt on a delivery truck, and Raymond, a carefree rich kid who shows Joe the eye-opening queer life around every corner of the big city.

Joe’s exposure to the surface of criminal Chicago pulls him into something darker than he could have imagined. When danger closes in—from gangsters, the police, and people he thought were friends—Joe needs to pack up and get lost. But before he can figure out where to go, he has to decide who he wants to be.

I’ll Take Everything You Have is a vivid portrayal of queer coming of age in Depression-era Chicago, and a timeless story of trying to make your future bright when the rest of the world is dead set on keeping it hidden in the dark.

  • * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year *

  • "Through passionate, cinematic scenes, Klise poignantly captures the fears and joys of being gay in this polished work of historical fiction. A transportive, thrillingly queer adventure."

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • "Klise details an arresting narrative replete with historical minutiae and slang ...to provide a mesmerizing snapshot of 1930s Chicago... Atmospheric and economically told."

    Publishers Weekly
  • "Klise deftly manages to balance a number of elements in Joe’s first-person narration: his gradual transition from wide-eyed innocence toward criminal activity, the complicated motivations of secondary characters, convincing dialogue, and an aura of danger and suspense."

    The Horn Book Magazine
  • "Klise… has done an excellent job of evoking his 1930s setting…. His story is engaging, and readers will root for innocent Joe and hope for a fate more agreeable than a return to closeted life down on the farm."


On Sale
May 14, 2024
Page Count
288 pages

James Klise

About the Author

James Klise is the author of I'll Take Everything You Have and The Art of Secrets, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Teen Mystery, the Nevada Young Readers Award, and a Booklist Editor's Choice Award, among other honors. His first book, Love Drugged, was an ALA Stonewall Honor Award winner and Lambda Literary Award finalist. His short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New Orleans Review, StoryQuarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Mr. Klise earned an MFA from Bennington College. He leads a popular Novel-in-A-Year workshop at StoryStudio in Chicago and, for the past two decades, he has overseen a very busy high school library.

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