Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Holy.moly.  I have to start by telling you that I absolutely devoured this book.  We're talking maybe three or four hours of reading over the course of two days and could not stop.  I was heartbroken when I looked at the page numbers and realized it was going to come to an end soon.

I'm going to use the publisher's description here, and then in my own review I'm going to say how I think both the publisher's description and the cover totally fail at conveying what the book is really about.

From Goodreads:
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. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.
Ok, so to start, the book is set in Colonial New England - which you'd never get from the description.  The historical setting plays a HUGE role in the reasons that Judith isn't accepted back into her Puritan community as well as why she struggles so much with learning to communicate (little education for girls during the time period means she can't read or write well).

Leaving out the setting in the book's description, combined with the cover image, led me to believe I was going to be reading a contemporary "issue" book.  Instead, I got a beautiful, and surprisingly literary work of historical fiction that dealt largely with character development and interior monologue.

Writing
I am so impressed with Berry's writing.  I loved Judith from the beginning and her voice is so real and believable.  I love her narration, all directed toward her childhood friend Lucas, as if she were speaking her thoughts to him instead of just in her mind.  The writing is just flat out pretty, and not at all what you typically see in YA.  Having a devoutly Puritan narrator was a huge contrast to the standard fare, and worked well for the author.

Entertainment Value
Well, like I said, I read it in two sittings over the course of just a few hours.  What I thought was going to be fairly typical thriller/YA contemporary, turned out to be surprisingly refreshing and unique.  I loved the historical setting, I fell in love with all of the characters, and I believed in the narrator and her voice.  It also doesn't hurt that there's a great mystery at the heart of the story, but in this case that comes in second behind the beautiful writing.

Overall
Please don't be put off by the somewhat silly cover.  This is totally worth reading.

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