Thursday, 23 January 2014
Review: All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: August 31st, 2013
Judith can't speak. Ever since the horrifying trauma that left her best friend dead and Judith without her tongue, she's been a pariah in her close-knit community of Roswell Station; even her own mother won't look her in the eye. All Judith can do is silently pour out her thoughts and feelings to the love of her life, 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 by enemies, long-buried secrets come to light - the cruel become kind - and Judith's world starts to shift on its axis. Before she knows it, Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if what she has to say might change her world and the lives around her, forever.
All the Truth That's in Me is a fantastic book. I almost read it in one sitting (work unfortunately got in the way), and I savoured every page as I got to the end. It's beautifully written; shocking, hopeful and heartbreaking all at once.
I don't want to say too much about the plot, because to do that would be to ruin the reading experience. The main gist is that a girl, Judith, returns home after being missing for two years. Her friend Lottie is dead, and Judith's tongue has been brutally cut from her body. She's been forced into silence, unable to speak or tell of her ordeal. The only light in Judith's life is the boy she's loved all her life, her childhood friend Lucas. It's harrowing stuff, made all the worse by what has been and what is still to come.
This book is written using second-person narrative, which I'm quite unfamiliar with. It's written from Judith's perspective, as if she's writing to Lucas, using 'you' and 'your'. Off the top of my head I can't think of another YA book written in this way, though there must be some and I'm sure I've encountered it myself along the way. If I have, none have been as memorable or as well utilised as All the Truth That's in Me, and that's testament to Julie Berry's writing.
I quickly fell in love with Judith and Lucas and everyone else in their complicated lives. Judith's brother, Darrel, was a highlight for me, as well as Judith's friend, Maria. These people all rally together to help Judith get her life back: they help her try to learn to read and speak again, and ultimately they're more supportive that Judith's own mother. Without them she would have drowned in despair, becoming nothing but a silent, withered shell. With them, she has a fighting chance.
All the Truth That's in Me is so powerful and stayed in my head for weeks after finishing it. It's part mystery, part love story, with so much more in between. It's poetic, original and easily one of the most powerful YA novels to hit shelves. I defy you to read this book and not be completely consumed until reaching the last page. Even then, I wanted to flip back to the beginning and start all over again. Just brilliant.