Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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

All the Truth That's In Me

Title:  All The Truth That's In Me
Author: Julie Berry 
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Publishing Date:  September 26th 2013
Pages: 274
Genre:  YA Historical Fiction/ Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


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.

This book was just AMAZING. I was a bit worried going into it, historical fiction can be a hit or miss for me. I love them or I don’t care for them. I need the atmosphere of the age the story takes place, the look, the sounds, the characters, but I like to keep a bit of a modern feel to it. I want to feel like I am in a story from the past but I don’t want to feel like I am reading a book from the past. This book was done perfectly. The setting and the tone were very well done and the mystery was very intriguing. The way the book was written was brilliant. I haven’t read something so unique and wonderful in a very very long time.

Judith lives in a small town surviving on their own since their revolution. Not sure what year it is but it’s a long time ago.. Ships, horse carts, bonnets, and little one room schoolhouses. So a very very long time ago. Judith’s best friend disappears on night and a couple of nights later Judith disappears. Not much longer after Judith’s disappearance, her friend’s body washes up in the river. Two years later Judith returns, a mute. She cannot tell the tale of what happened while she was missing. Fast forward two more years and we are getting the entire story. Judith has written a love letter of sorts to her childhood crush, Lucas. It will finally come out, the entire truth. When the truth finally comes out everything changes.

I am not sure where to begin. This book was intense, beautiful, poetic, and heartbreaking. There were so many factor that worked together to create something unforgettable. The writing style was a first for me. Second person narrative existed in my school days. I knew what it was but I have never read anything written in second person before. I believe this had a huge part creating a breathtaking story. Judith writes the story as a letter to Lucas, her childhood crush. It’s a love letter of sorts but also a way for her tell her story to the only person she trusts with her truths. It wasn’t hard for me to get into. I didn’t know who “You” was at first, but it didn’t take long to get into the groove of things and put myself in the shoes of Lucas. I do believe that the story being written this way really enabled me to feel fully what I was intended to feel from the point of view of Judith. It was very effective in setting the overall tone, which sent me into a roller coaster of emotions.

The setting was done extremely well in this book. I am not sure what year it was and if I knew my histories better, maybe I could figure it out. I felt it was somewhere in the late 1700s to early 1800s. I could be completely off so don’t quote me on that. It had a puritan sort of feel to the time and place and it fit very well with the tone of the story. The descriptions were just right to fill my head with pictures but not overdone to take away from knowing the characters, in fact it helped to understand the characters and they way things were done. This story wouldn’t have worked as well in modern times because of woman’s rights. Women didn’t have any in this story and that was major for the story to play out.
Judith was a wonderful character. She was filled with love she couldn’t give, desperation to be accepted, and determination to truly live. She was ignored by most for 2 years since she came back. Her love for Lucas drove her to do something unthinkable which caused a snowball effect of some wild events. The first one of which was giving her a friend, Maria. Through this friendship she was taught so much. Friendship, acceptance, bravery. These things added to already there, but hidden, great qualities. She was shy and in the background in the beginning but she learned how to make herself known when it came to things that mattered. Her loyalty to those that deserved was truly wonderful too. I think she would have made me a great and dear friend. She was also very selfless, she was always putting her family first, even when it stood in her way of happiness. 

There were a slew of characters in the story and even though the story was told from Judith’s point of view, it wasn’t hard to get to know the heroes and villains of the story. I loved Maria. She was that perky, beautiful, loved by everyone, spoiled girl at the beginning, but underneath it all she was very kind. She was able to show her kindness and her true heart after making some not so accepted decisions in public. She in turn decided that she needed to get to know Judith since they were both basically outcasts now. Their friendship grew quickly and it was true.

Lucas was also something special. I wasn’t so sure about him in the beginning but he turned out alright, actually better than alright. A boy worth the love Judith in every way. He was so sweet and so chivalrous. So swoon worthy. Judith’s brother,, Darrel, was pretty awesome too. Didn’t have much sense when it was needed and tended to get himself in trouble. But he was kind. I liked him. Another hero of the story was Goodie Pruitt. The oldest woman in town… or so it seemed. In the end she was a true hero. She was always honest, even when it hurt, she never held her tongue. She was also very clever and paid close attention to it all. Couldn’t fool her for sure.

So yes a great cast of characters, wonderful story, awesome tone, beautiful setting, this book had it all, including a pretty spectacular narrator who brought it all to life for me. I would listen and read this book more than a handful of times in my lifetime. It was a mixture and a pretty good mixture of historical fiction, realistic fiction, romance, and mystery

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