I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry
Also by this author: Secondhand Charm, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, The Passion of Dolssa
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated on 2013
Genres: Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Violence, Young Adult
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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.
Man, All The Truth That’s In Me is a total departure from the other Julie Berry book I read, Secondhand Charm. I am actually really okay with this. I like when authors try different things and I like it even more when they succeed at stepping outside the cute and adorable comfort zone. (From what I remember, Secondhand Charm was cute and adorable). I read All The Truth That’s In Me in a bit of a frenzy at 2 a.m., I believe it was, during the Dewey 24 Hour Readathon. So, forgive me if this review isn’t overly verbose, but you know how it is with fever pitch early morning hours reading, not everything gets retained. To start, I will say that All The Truth That’s In Me is a dark book but it’s not without a ray of light at the end.
Years ago, Judith and her best friend Lottie disappeared. Judith came back, Lottie did not. However, Judith did not come back whole. Instead, she came back with half a tongue and no voice. Everything is different for Judith. Her dad has died during her absence. Gone is her cheerful, loving mother – in her place is a harsh, cold woman. Her brother Darrel is the darling of the household and a bit of the pain, he calls Judith worm. Much of the town they live in, Roswell Station believes Judith to now be a half-wit. Meanwhile, her beau, Lucas is now engaged to the beguiling, dark eyed Maria. Judith returns from one hell, just to enter another. The truth of what happened during her disappearance and what truly happened to Lottie begins to bubble up in Judith, ready to spill out. And so, Berry’s All The Truth That’s In Me is a story of Judith’s finding her voice, both in the literal sense and in the metaphorical sense.
As a character, it might seem hard to relate to Judith because she doesn’t really talk, given her whole lack of parts of her tongue. Yet, she communicates herself quite well. I thought Berry did a fine job describing Judith’s yearning. Like, it’s deep and palpable. I also liked that we got to read about how hard life is for Judith. Her struggles just seem so real. Judith can’t read or write, but do not mistake this for idiocy. In fact, Judith is quite a bright girl and perseverant too. I found myself rooting for her as she endured trauma after trauma.
The world in All The Truth That’s In Me is faintly reminiscent of Pilgrim era America. The Reverend Frye plays a huge role in town. Women can get in trouble for being harlots. It’s a patriarchal society. The rules are rigid. The people are agrarian. Yet, there’s some difference too. For example, there’s a fear of the homelanders, who want to take the land, I guess. Anyways, what is really well done in Berry’s book is the stifling feeling of oppression. Like, you read this book and it feels like things are closing in on you, because the people in town are cruel and close-minded. It doesn’t take much for the town of Roswell Station to turn on various inhabitants. As the story goes on, it is almost a bit much to take, but ah, the mood and the world building just really, really work for this story of finding courage.
A fair warning, I am pretty sure that the writing style of All The Truth That’s In Me or rather the tense is called second person, meaning that Judith is telling the story and using the word YOU constantly as though she’s talking to Lucas. Or, hmmm, maybe this isn’t second person. I don’t know. I am not an English major. Anyways, I know some people get up in arms about that kind of thing, but I thought it was a good choice for telling Judith’s story. There aren’t really chapters but the prose is broken up with roman numeral fragments. Berry’s All The Truth That’s In Me is a rather speedy read that demands you stay put until you’ve learned Judith and by extension, Roswell Station’s secrets.
PS, there’s totally some kissing, lest you think this book is all doom and gloom.