November 7, 2013

Nothing But The Truth

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Release Date: September 26, 2013
Publisher: Penguin | Viking Juvenile
Pages: 274 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon | Goodreads

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.

Thoughts on All The Truth That's In Me
To be entirely honest, I had no interest in reading this book (or at least didn't know anything about it) prior to reading Lauren's review. Her post, highlighting five things that struck her about All the Truth That's In Me, convinced me that I needed this book in my reading life... or, at the very least, that I needed to investigate it further.

I immediately hopped onto my library's website to put in a hold request for it. It hadn't be released yet, but my library had it on order and I wanted to be one of the first to read it. Thankfully, I got it just a few days after it had been published and decided to start reading immediately. Lauren's review just made me so curious about this story and this character.

All the Truth That's In Me is the story of Judith, a teenager who disappeared from her town four years ago. Her best friend went missing around the same time but was found murdered soon after. Judith, however, was gone without a trace. When she's returned, she's a changed person. Part of her tongue has been cut out - she cannot speak or tell her story. Instead of celebrating her return, the town rejects and ostracizes her. The town fears what it does not know. I promise you this - Judith will absolutely break your heart. You'll love her, but you'll also hurt for her.

One really huge thing that sets All the Truth That's In Me apart from so many other books I've read is that it's written in second person. I don't know if I've ever read a book written in this point-of-view, and if I have, it's been years since I did. Unable to speak, Judith is silently pouring out her heart and thoughts to the boy she's loved since she was a little girl - her childhood friend, Lucas. I actually loved that Judith was speaking directly to Lucas. Instead of distancing me from the book, it felt so personal and intimate. I connected to this girl and this boy in a way I never expected.

There was something so unique and original about the way this book was written. You could feel Judith's pain, heartbreak and longing. It takes a series of events to force Judith into an impossible choice: continue to keep quiet or finally tell her story, despite the lives (including hers) that will be forever changed because it. I found myself so invested in the story, wondering what decision Judith would make and if she'd ever be able to find a way to speak for herself.

This is historical fiction, but the time period is never totally clear. Based on some of the details, it seems as though it's set in a Puritan town. Judith references the boat they traveled in to reach America, and some of the customs felt like they would occur during that time period. There is, however, no real context for the story. I noticed some reviewers on Goodreads who were frustrated by this ambiguity, but it didn't bother me. Since Judith is talking directly to Lucas, it made sense to me that she wouldn't provide a lot of detail about the community around them. She doesn't need to spell it out for him because he lives there, too.

In my comment on Lauren's review, I noted: "I'm not typically drawn to stories like this - untold secrets and all that hidden pain." I know why I had that impression about this book, but it's really not that kind of story. The reason I don't usually like that kind of book is because I usually feel like the "secret" is used like a carrot that's supposed to propel you through the book. In this story, however, you get small revelations about what happened throughout. Because of the way Judith narrates, it makes complete and total sense why the story is told this way.

The way this story develops and the way Judith grows as a character just absolutely won me over. I started this book - curious but skeptical - but closed the page feeling so satisfied and so in love. This, for me, is the definition of a book that completely catches you off guard. I loved it, which was something I certainly didn't anticipate. Don't let the blurb or cover dissuade you from reading this book. It's emotional, lovely, haunting and such a wonderful book. The writing is so lyrical that I found myself re-reading passages over and over again just to savor their beauty.

Even when I love a book, I'm not typically the kind to push it on everyone. Listen, I'm pushing this one. You really NEED to read this book! You may be nervous or unsure of it, but I'm begging you to give it a chance. This was definitely one of the best surprises of 2013! And you better believe I'm buying a hard copy for my shelves.

So Quotable
"Then you appear, through the trees, guiding your mule as he pulls a tree limb. Like a soldier back from battle, you fill my vision. You're a flood, a baptism I'd forgotten, and the force of you leaves me breathless."

8 comments:

  1. I think I feel how you may have felt before you jumped in. For me, my reluctance will be the historical fiction - undefined time period. When you said that, I felt all wishy-washy about it. However, I am going to take the leap. I'll let you know what I thought when I'm done. Thanks for your heartfelt reviews. I can feel your reading emotion through all of your posts.

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    1. Yes, I felt very on the fence about reading this one until I actually picked it up. And then the book just won me over! I'm hoping the undefined time period doesn't end up bothering you too much. It wasn't a super noticeable or major element, but I thought it was worth pointing out since this is technically historical fiction.

      Thank you for the sweet comment on my reviews! I really appreciate that & it means so much for you to say that you can feel my reading emotion :)

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  2. Hi, I'm comment bombing your blog. This is another one that I just loved. I was so skeptical when I first started reading. It definitely took me a while to settle into the second-person POV and the whole secrets thing (normally not my thing either), but oh my gosh once I did it was so worth it. I think I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning finishing this because I just needed to know what happened. Plus the ending, I loved how it ended and the last line.

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    1. RIGHT?! It was like okkkkkayyyy when I first started, and then I just fell in love. I had no idea that it was going to work so well for me! It's my favorite YA historical read of the year, for sure.

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  3. I was really uncertain about whether or not I'd want to read this book, so I ended up passing it along to another blogger. However, your review has completely changed my mind! It makes me so curious as to what Judith's real story is and how this POV ended up working for a lot of readers. I'm definitely going to have to look it up after your positive endorsement.

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    1. YAYYY! I'm so happy that my review ended up making you interested in this one. I really do hope you'll check it out. It's a unique, fascinating and moving read. A definite favorite for me!

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  4. The cover for this one definitely threw me off-guard. It's strange and a carries gruesome hints and doesn't reveal that it's historical fiction. The more I hear about this story in reviews, however, the more intrigued I am by it. Second-person narration is certainly not a common narration - for good reason. It's super difficult to pull off well. I do like that the author has clearly taken some risks here and I'm interested to see how well she managed to execute them. I'm not sure how well this story will actually work for me, but I do plan on finding out.

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    1. Yeah, the cover threw me, too. Having read it, I do see how it fits but it's also not completely indicative of the type of read that it is. I do hope you'll check it out! The author definitely took some risks, but I felt that they really paid off and just worked so well in this one. Hope you feel the same, but will be interested in your thoughts either way!

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