Tuesday, October 8, 2013

All the Truth That's In Me ~ Julie Berry (audio) review

All the Truth That's In Me
Viking Juvenile
September 26, 2013
274 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

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.
All the Truth That's In Me isn't a book that I would identify as being historical if I simply saw the cover; something that is almost always possible to do. I kind of love that. Julie Berry's novel is not set in the present day, but it's also not set in a known, entirely identifiable oast time and place. Fictional (so far as I know) Roswell Station could be any Puritanical town of the time.

While historical novels that deal with real people and events are fun to read, those that use the time period, the societal norms, beliefs and expectations to plot a story and shape characters accordingly -- all while remembering that not everyone fits the mold, can be fantastic.

When All the Truth That's In Me first starts, it's not entirely clear just what's happened to Judith. You know she was away from her family, from her town for several years but that's she's been back for some years as well. You know that something happened while she was away that altered her, something that's caused everyone to all but shun her. You just don't know what exactly that something was.

As Judith tells her story, you slowly uncover the truth. With more and more unease - and distaste for those around her - as things progress. As she tells more of her story, Even, as she seems to come to terms with and realize more of it herself, just how shocking it all is comes to light.

The style of Berry's prose works incredibly well with her character, her character's communication and with keeping readers just that little bit away from knowing the full story. (Until it's time.) Not long winded or big on flowy description, it's more poetic. While the book is written in prose, the often very short numbered sections within the larger chapters/divisions could be considered either chapters or stanzas.

I listened to the audio version of this novel purely by chance (I was interested in it and my library had it but not the print version) and I'm incredibly glad I did. Hearing some novels, as opposed to simply reading them silently, to yourself read really enhances the enjoyment and experience of the story. This is definitely one of those books. I really recommend listening to it if you can.

Rating: 8/10

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