Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: All the Truth That's In Me

All the Truth That's In Me
By Julie Berry
Expected publication September 26, 2013 by Viking Juvenile

Four years ago, two girls went missing from Roswell Station. Two years ago, only one of them returned. Judith is not the same girl she was before her disappearance - she never speaks anymore, instead silently confiding in her childhood friend, Lucas. When their town comes under attack, Judith must decide between remaining silent or setting her truth free.

I've seen Berry's books before and have wanted to read them but, of course, haven't found the time yet. I was intrigued by the blurb for her latest and was happy to receive an e-galley of it. This book, though, was not quite what I expected.

I guess what threw me off most about this book was the setting: it appears to be a historical novel, set in an indeterminate point in history. There is nothing in the blurb to suggest this and, it may be superficial, but that's certainly not the vibe I got from the cover. I was expecting a contemporary thriller, so the historical setting was a bit unsettling at first. As a matter of fact, I kept waiting for the setting to be revealed as false, a la M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, right up until the end of the book. I don't know if that means my surprise at the setting was particularly strong, or that it never really rang true for me. It might be a bit unfair to say the latter, but I wish I had known before I started reading.

Additionally, the way this story is told took a bit of getting used to. It's separated into books, with each book being comprised of many very short chapters (sometimes only a paragraph or a few sentences). It is told as if it is literally being told, verbally, to Lucas, who Judith addresses as "you" throughout the story. Though it takes a bit of getting used to, in one way, this narrative choice makes the story feel more immediate and pressing and intimate - readers can feel like they are right alongside Judith, hearing the truth.

As for the story itself, it was a little simplistic. I expected the choice Judith would have to make to be a bit more dramatic, but it never really struck me as that difficult of a choice. Additionally, some of the action seems to have been tacked on in an attempt to build up more drama (the bit with the teacher felt out of place to me), but maybe it's just me.

Once I got past the surprise of the narrative and setting, this book moves at a pretty quick pace (those short chapters really help propel the story along). Ultimately, I think I'd say this is a decent read, but nothing terribly memorable or outstanding.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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