Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: All the Truth That's in Me

All the Truth That's in Me
Julie Berry
Young Adult, Historical, Suspense
Viking Books for Young Readers
September 26, 2013

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.

There is no question the setting is historical but exactly where or when is never clear. It doesn't really matter. What matters is the absorbing story about a girl taken from her village only to return, changed, four years later.

When Judith returns to her village, she has changed in so many ways. The obvious is the physical. She no longer speaks and tends to keep to herself because of this. There is also the psychological changes. She comes back to a very different home life from when she left. So much for her to process and attempt to get back to something resembling her old life. She is smart enough to know that nothing will ever be the same. In a way, she becomes what others tell her she is. But there is that small part of her that is so much more than what people think she is.

Judith is such a strong character. She had to be strong to survive what she has. But there is also great strength needed for her to endure what her life has now become. Getting inside her head and seeing how she thinks was fascinating. Her life experiences have given her such a unique perspective on the world around her. Judith is definitely a memorable character.

While there is a romantic element, it is not the focus of the story. The mystery surrounding Judith and her friend's disappearance and Judith's life after her return are the focus. The mystery is well written and kept me guessing as to what really happened four years ago. The village setting is well developed, giving the reader much insight into how people and their ideas can influence how others see themselves. You do get the feeling this is possibly colonial America but it is never stated. The beliefs of Judith's community are very narrow-minded, except for a few brave souls who go against the majority.

The romance starts as friendship, which made it stronger and more believable. I loved how the friendship between Judith and Lucas developed. It's the building of trust that creates the real strength of their bond. Lucas showed such patience and kindness towards Judith. Judith in turn, reacted well to it because she had seen so little of it since returning to her village.

It's possible I enjoyed this story so much because I was in the mood for it - I am a mood reader. I should also note the story is told in second person narrative which is not my preferred POV. And flashbacks are used, again, not something I usually prefer. Even with all that, I enjoyed it because it was simply a well told story.

Rating: A