Thursday, October 3, 2013

All The Truth That's In Me

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
4/5 stars
Viking Juvenile, 2013
274 pages
YA Thriller Historical

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have a lot of feelings about this book and I can only hope I can explain them with some eloquence for you. I can't go too in-depth into the plot as that is part of the thrill of reading, not knowing what is to come. In fact, Kendra Levin, Senior Editor of Viking Children's Books promises "you won't be able to put this book down until you've reached its heart-pounding conclusion" and I can't disagree with her. The closer I got to the end, the harder it was to put down as I had to have everything confirmed for me. I am still processing a lot of it though so walk with me through some spoiler-free thoughts. I'm going to share the publisher's summary from Goodreads to give you some context.
"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."

Setting:
I'm a bit confused about the setting as it seems very historical without any modern technology but I have no idea in what year it might take place. I am also assuming it is America but have no real basis for that other than that it's an American publication. Does anyone know anything more about this? Googling "Roswell Station" introduces Georgia though I got more of a New England/Canada vibe (probably because of the cold as well as the villagers making me think of the Salem Witch Trials.)

Genre:
I know that genre categorization can be tricky but I find it helpful for my own piece of mind. I'm not really sure how to classify this book. Yes, it's in the YA section but that's category, not genre. Yes, it's historical but what period? Yes, it has some suspenseful and mysterious elements but my overwhelming impression is not one of thrilling. Yes, there's romance but there's no way you'd call it that. So it's a difficult to categorize this book to my dismay. However I also think that speaks to the book's originality.

Second-person:
The narration is primarily in second-person from main character Judith who has had her tongue cut out, rendering her silenced to the man she loves. I have had mixed experiences with this technique as I usually end up thinking the "you" is me and it's not. I struggled with that on occasion here but for the most part, I was able to remember who you is and to stay in the story. It was incredibly easy to sympathize with Judith in her mute ostracized state and I loved her quiet courage as people sought to carry out their machinations assuming her silence for complicity.

Twist/reveal:
I kind of feel like the ending is supposed to contain some surprises. The aforementioned editor calls it a "pinhole" narrative, where the world is slowly revealed to provide answers. Though I spent much of the first part confused, I soon mostly got my bearings and did not find the ending particularly startling. Based on the information revealed and our knowledge of Judith's character as well as the suspicious nature of the villagers, I pretty much had my thoughts confirmed rather than upended. I don't know if my expectations were off-track because of the pinhole and I built that up or if the ending wasn't as shocking as it could have been.

Overall: Still processing complicated feelings about this book but I think it's definitely worth checking out if you can :)

28 comments:

  1. It's a shame that you already knew most of the things that were supposed to be 'revealed' at the ending.

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    1. And I didn't read spoilers or anything-they just seemed obvious to me. I guess I was really on the ball that day!

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  2. Great review :) I actually really, really loved this book. I didn't have any problem with the "you" part, but I can understand that it was a bit frustrating :) Sigh, this book was just beautiful. <3 I kind of enjoyed the ending ;p

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    1. In general I have problems with the "you" technique but this was one of the better ones for me and I'm really glad I gave it a try.

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  3. I have this one on my TBR and I'm really looking forward to it. Roswell always means New Mexico to me - I wonder what impression of the setting I'll get?

    The little I know about this gives me a bit of a Titus Andronicus vibe.

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    1. It seemed more New England to me but I'm interested to see what you get. I'm not super familiar with TA other than apparently there are a lot of gory deaths; your knowledge will have to fill me in if there are any similarities.

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  4. The only other book I've read in 2nd person is "Stolen," and that technique *definitely worked for me there, so I'm really curious about how well it works in this book. Because it seems like it's one of those things that could go really badly if not done right. Great review. I'm adding this book to my tbr for sure!

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    1. I've read a few second person books lately and this was probably the best done. I admit I also loved that it was told in mostly fragments-made it easy to get a few paragraphs read during free time.

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  5. The setting and time period threw me for a loop too, I just need to know where and when they are. I didn't like the 2nd person narrative much, but I was able to overlook that. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well. Somehow it managed to be a super emotional read for me.

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    1. I'm dying to know those details. Do you think New England is a good guess for location? And time would have to be the past, right? More specificity would have pleased me.

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  6. I'm very curious about the setting/time. I didn't get a historical vibe with this blurb but I know it's historical. Very out-of-time, I guess.

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    1. While reading it, you definitely feel the historical but it's hard to pick a specific time/place. I almost felt 1880s like Little House on the Prairie because of the schoolhouse and long dresses but Colonial also works for me. I would love to know what other people think!

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    1. Very interested to see what you'll think about this-you always make such good critiques when a book doesn't please you.

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  8. I started reading this a couple of weeks ago. I got about 40 pages in, and I felt like I had no idea what was going on. I set it aside, and now I can barely remember what I've read. I'm going to try to pick it up again - I think I'll have to start over. I might be more surprised by the ending than you were, because I'm not always good at figuring out these things.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

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    1. I definitely took my time getting in to this book-the first few pages were not working for me. But I do love the fragment style so that helped too. I'm not usually good at figuring these plots out but maybe my frequent reading of historicals helped in this regard.

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  9. I do really want to read this one! Like Liviania says above, it reminds me of Titus Andronicus, and I like that play a lot.

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    1. I will need to refresh my memory of this play because this comparison just seems so bizarre to me. Is a character purposefully muted?

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  10. I'm not a huge fan of second person, though I liked Bright Lights, Big City. I think for that story, it worked, and it sounds like it works for this too. I have this ARC and I'm going to try to make time for it soon. Then we can discuss!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Oh yay-can't wait for you to read so we can talk :)

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  11. I saw this book was available for review but I felt very conflicted about it. After reading your review I'm still not sure if I'd like it. I am curious about Judith and what happened to her so maybe I'll get this from the library sometime to give it a try.

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    1. I only read it because it was randomly sent to me-the cover looks so horrifying that I wouldn't have been brave enough to try it otherwise.

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  12. I really loved this one. I can see where your issues may have arisen from it, but I thought it was so unique and loved it for that. Great review, though!

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    1. I feel like it's very unique too with all its components but maybe it was *too* different.

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  13. I just put this one hold at my library, so hopefully soon I can read it. It does sound good. :)

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    1. I hope you do get a chance to read it-I'd love to see your thoughts!

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  14. Your review actually has me intrigued, I like the fact that it left you conflicted, think I'll have to check it out!

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    1. Oh it made me feel so many things, which I think is a good sign; a book that is provoking and somewhat offbeat can make for an exciting read for many.

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