I received this book for free from Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
Published by Viking Juvenile on September 26th 2013
Genres: Historical, Mystery, YA
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Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.
A strange, yet captivating book; All The Truth That’s in Me gives a reading experience like no other. I can’t say I’ve read anything quite like this before. It’s different! This is the best, if most simple way to describe it.
The way this book is written is as if, especially during the first part, we’re seeing a story unfold through bursts of random flashes of a life. There’s an editor’s note at the beginning of my copy that describes it as “a pinhole narrative – you start out looking through a tiny hole that allows you to see only a fraction of Judith’s world, and as the story goes on, the pinhole widens” It’s the the perfect way to exemplify the storytelling style. As you can guess, it’s not the kind of story where you fall into place right away, it takes time to situate yourself and make sense of anything you’re reading. But, it also compels you to move forward despite the disorientation it causes. The 2nd person narrative makes this novel even more unique. Judith is telling her story directly to Lucas – the boy she loves. As if in letter form. As if YOU were Lucas. Even though it threw me off my game once or twice where I had to stop and think for a second who she was referring to, I did find it was a brilliant choice for the type of novel this was.
This is a strange opinion, but I feel like I enjoyed the book, yet I did not. When I wasn’t reading I would find myself constantly thinking about it, but when I was reading, I felt restless, needing to make an effort to focus on the passages I was reading. I found the plot was very slow to progress even after the story got clear enough for me to grasp it in its entirety. I was also not aware this book was a historical fiction before I picked it up and read it – the blurb being too vague to make out much of anything (funnily, this ambiguity is what made me want to read it in the first place). This genre happens to be one I very rarely read and one of my least favorites. Thus I attribute some of my boredom to that alone. On the same note, the setting is never entirely established either, particularly in a historical sense. It makes it difficult to understand what kind of societal mindset we are dealing with. Nevertheless, due to the unique quality of the story and writing, I would still call this an exceptional read despite my ennui. Hence my all-over-the-place feelings (and review) toward the complete package!
What compelled me to keep reading, even re-read pages I dozed through, was the mystery as well as Judith’s determination in taking her life back after this trauma. Some parts are disturbing, some empowering. Through it all she stays much stronger than I would have in her shoes; not only does she have to live with what’s happened, her loss of voice is viewed with repugnance by others. It’s nothing but a tiny village with nowhere else to go. Though tiny, it’s a village surrounded by a mystery that had me NEEDING to find out the conclusion of. Finally, the fourth part of this book is superb, and it immediately made me want to give this 4 stars upon finishing; except I can’t ignore my earlier boredom. I do want everyone to read this, however, if only to experience it. The originality alone might make you a fan among many!
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