I was pretty stinkin’ excited to get a review copy of All The Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry. (Translate: I ripped open the packaging and clutched the book hissing, “My preciousss”, while engaging in a hairy-footed-Hobbit-dance.)
Thank you to HarperCollins for the review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years later, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by her friends and family.
Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to her childhood friend, Lucas. He is the boy who has owned her heart for as long as she can remember – even if he doesn′t know it.
But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose – to continue living in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.
If I scream and clutch this book and die quietly (or loudly, either/or) here, will you understand how much I am in awe of this book? A coherent review is behind me right now. If you don’t read the rest to find out why I am in love with this paper back volume of 300 pages, then just read this: THIS WRITING IS BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL, AND RAW. I LOVED IT.
What I didn’t know: this is NOT a modern contemporary! It’s set in the 1800s (it actually reminded me a lot of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare), with the pioneers and cult-like villages that control everyone’s lives. It’s also written like a letter, with the narrator (Judith) talking to her childhood sweetheart like she’s writing to him. (As in, “You ran towards me”, sort of style.) I love this! I’ve only read one other book like this (Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler) and I fell in love with the style. It presents a story so fresh and clear and poignant, bypassing the audience and letting us in on a sacred commute of conversation. LOVE it, peoples. Coupling a historical fiction with that unusual style is just awesome and mind blowing. The author is amazing.
I gobbled the whole book in 2 sittings (it had to be 2 because I was rudely torn away from this precious book to do weird human things, like eat and sleep). Ohmygosh, I couldn’t get to the end fast enough (sounds mean, but book lovers will understand). I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
Something you need to know: nothing is as it seems. The end is so messed up, I couldn’t compute for a minute. Perfect, but messed-up. It’s a really horrible story (in the best possible way) and it’s about dark and gritty things. I’ve never thought about there being horror kidnappings in the 1800s. But why wouldn’t things be like that back then, too? Pedophiles and rapists had great chances of getting away, because if you had the villages’ ear, you could pardon yourself. While the book doesn’t get graphic, it leaves a LOT unsaid: which is freaky if you have a horrible imagination (like me). The author makes you work, and daaaaang, I worked and was rewarded with the truth at the end.
By the way, the feels? I cried. I gasped. I raged. I shook my fist. I hugged the book. I bashed the book. I wanted to pluck Judith out of her horrible village and keep her safe. I also wanted to split some lips. My gosh, is it even LEGAL to yank so much feeling out of a reader? It shouldn’t be. I’m emotionally destroyed now. Thanks a lot.
But, one word: Lucas. Wow. Lucas. I am in awe of how he was written. He messed Judith, but she messed him, and their world was so messed up, how could it not be messy? Least to say: wow, Lucas.
I think the author has superpowers.
If you’re looking for a psychological thriller set in the 1800s, full of horror, grit, reality, and romance: this is it.
PS. Go read it noooow.