Review: All the Truth That's in Me by Juilie Berry

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Title: All the Truth That's in Me
Author: Julie Berry
Series: N/A
Pages: 274 (ARC edition)
Published: September 2012
Source: gifted from the gracious Rachel at hello, chelly.
Rating: 4/5

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.

Told in a voice that is achingly raw and intimate, this remarkably original novel will haunt and stay with 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 one.

There is a lot about All the Truth That's in Me that really shouldn't work. But they do. Despite the narrow perspective of an unreliable narrator, despite the use of the second person POV, despite the spare, sparse narration style of Judith, despite how remote the love interest is to the reader--  it all works. All The Truth That's in Me is a quiet, smart, intense novel. It's a short experience, but Judith's voice and her story are strong and inviting from the first chapter. It's easy to be casually curious about a novel with such an original narrator and premise, but the author ensures the story behind All the Truth That's in Me is worth the time and attention attracted.

I was admittedly worried about the narration once I heard this was written entirely in second person. That particular view is so limiting and hard and so many authors fumble the execution. Not Julie Berry. Here, her use of second person present fosters a sense of observing a personal conversation between Judith and her audience. It's fresh and real rather than narrow and limited. Judith is smart and determined, despite her struggles -- her past may be closer than is comforting, but she endures. She's not flashy or snarky, but her quiet will is both her defining characteristic and the most interesting aspect of her character.

There are some questions about the nature of Judith's disappearance and imprisonment, but this is not primarily what I would call just a mystery novel. It's a mix of both historical and mystery; both elements complement each other remarkably well under Berry's pen. With extended flashbacks to the event years before and current timeline with a Judith returned home intermingled, it's still easy to keep the story in mind as it build. It all unwinds rather quickly due to the fast paced narration and the short amount of pages.

This is an odd, curious book. It's different. It's wonderful. All the Truth That's in Me is raw and honest and deals with some harsh circumstances. It's surprising and fresh. The writing is good, the characters are solid and the plot is unique and compelling. If not entirely sold on this, I declare that it's at least worth a borrow from a library. For an author primarily known for another sort of book entirely, Julie Berry's attempt at a historical mystery more than paid off.

Many many thanks to Rachel at hello, chelly for being so kind and sending me her ARC to read and review.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way! I really thought as if so much could go wrong with this narration and setting, but it worked out perfectly and I was so impressed by the unfolding of the mystery and the romance. I can't wait for more by this author, and hopefully soon! Great review!(:


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