Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Author: Julie Berry Website|Twitter
Published: 31 August 2013 (Templar)
Format: Paperback (proof)
Pages: 272
Buy the hardback: Amazon|BookDepository

Source: Received proof copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks Templar!)

Plot Summary (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.

My Review:
I was offered the chance to get a proof copy of this and just couldn't resist when I read the plot summary. All the Truth That's In Me tells the story of Judith who has returned to her hometown after she was captured and kept away from her home, friends and family for two years.

The first thing you notice whilst reading All the Truth That's in Me is the different way the author has chosen to narrate the story. Judith is telling the story to her childhood friend Lucas so it's written as if she's speaking to him (she refers to him as "you"). I really liked that and it immediately made it stand out from other books I'd read, as well as helping me connect with Judith and helping to get across how she feels about Lucas - something which plays a key role in the story. The book also uses short "chapters" broken up with Roman numerals, and these smaller chunks of text helped keep the book pacy and stopped my attention straying. It also meant I rarely put the book down because there wasn't that temptation to stop at the next chapter!

The opening of the book took a little getting into because it flits about in time. Judith is explaining both her life in Roswell Station before she was taken, whilst also giving hints at what is to come. Once I got used to it, however, I came to really love the storytelling. The nature of the small town was fascinating as it's one of those places where everyone knows each other and people are incredibly judgmental. The townsfolk face a lot of issues with Judith going missing and the body of her friend Lottie being found. There were also moments where they had to defend the town and I loved seeing how the characters coped and reacted to the realities of war and fighting. Throw in the struggle with money that many families face and that sometimes harsh living conditions and it made for an interesting backdrop to the story.

Ultimately, though, this is Judith's story and her tale is one that is completely captivating. I thought it was interesting that it took quite a way into the book for her name to appear, but it's made clear that that is done intentionally and it was a moment that was really poignant. When Judith returns from her time in captivity she's had part of her tongue removed and struggles to speak. I found that barrier she has to overcome and the way she coped with it made her someone you really want to root for. There's so much trauma she has to cope with and I just found her as a character completely compelling.

The relationships between the characters in All the Truth That's in Me were a real strong point for me. I particularly liked the relationship between Judith and her brother Darrel, and the developing bond between Judith and Maria. The fractious relationship between Judith and her mother was also one I drawn to. It was heartbreaking to witness. Then there were the baddies who obviously play a big role, what with Judith having being kidnapped. I loved how Berry has managed to create this complex web of suspicious characters and how the full story wasn't unravelled until the gripping conclusion to the book.

Although All the Truth That's In Me deals with some tough issues, it's definitely not all bleak. The second half of the book provides some truly uplifting moments and I could feel that sense of hope as the book moved along. It's a story where you really root for the characters and I became so wrapped up and invested in their lives that I couldn't put it down. It's not a particularly long book, and I was so reluctant to part from the pages that I read it in the space of a day.

I think this is one of those books that will appeal to a wide range of readers because it doesn't feel like anything else I've read, especially in YA. When I finished it I already had a load of names in my head of people I want to recommend this to who wouldn't usually read the same books as me. I think the writing is so strong and I defy anyone to not get drawn into the story and the characters, and just the fact the book is so unique made me feel like I was reading something truly special.

It takes a little while to get into All the Truth That's in Me but once you're there it's totally worth it because it's a story that will stay with you long after you close the pages. I'll definitely be reading more from this author from the future and recommending this book to anyone who wants something a little different with real emotion and heart to it.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
Books like this: A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnely

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