Read: August 28 - 29, 2013
Published: UPCOMING September 26, 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Source: BEA **THANK YOU PENGUIN**
Category: Historical Fiction, YA
Official Summary: 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. (From Goodreads)
Set-up (adapted from Goodreads): Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, with part of her tongue cut out. She is unable to speak and ostracized by her friends and family. But when her town is attacked, Judith must decide whether it is worth revisiting the past she's tried to bury to save the future of the people that ignore her, and the boy she loves who barely knows she exists.
For this review, I'm going to tell you 5 things that struck me about All the Truth That's In Me:
"There is no one to tell, and no way to tell it, as I am now. I couldn't find words even if I was able. No words could ease this unbearable weight.
I cry to my willow tree: robbed of years, robbed of dignity, language, tranquility.
Last of all, cruelest, robbed of you."
1) Voice: My favorite thing about All The Truth That's In Me is that it is told in second person. Judith speaks the book directly to Lucas, the boy she's loved all her life. When I met the author this spring, she said the story, especially in the first half, is narrated as if Judith is writing Lucas a love letter, filled with devotion and longing. I could definitely sense that in Judith's words.
The second person voice also serves to illustrate how much of an outsider Judith has become since she returned to her community, damaged emotionally and physically. She is either ignored or treated with mistrust and even fear. But though the narrative style doesn't change, Judith does throughout the course of the story, and watching her "find her voice" was a painful but incredibly rewarding theme of this story.
2) Setting: All The Truth That's In Me is set in what appears to be a Puritan village somewhere in New England in the 17th century. The town and customs of the people mirror some of the first settlers to come to the United States, however, there are stubbornly no actual historical contextual details. Although I'm not sure why the author chose not to set her story in a real historical place, I really like the choice of a Puritan village setting. I think that it was a great way to strip down the story. We see Judith return to her community damaged and mistrusted and over time discover not only her self worth, but also her own power.
3) Romance: Judith has been in love with Lucas all of her life, and in many ways her love for him is the force that has sustained her through the darkness. Since Judith has returned from her two year absence, she watches Lucas from afar. It is painful to witness her devotion to Lucas in the beginning of the story. He barely acknowledges her, although her feelings for him are all consuming. Judith's love for Lucas begins as the naïve and obsessive love of youth. The "as long as you are happy it doesn't matter what happens to me" kind. As Judith finds her own worth and realizes that Lucas not perfect, but a human boy who makes mistakes, her feelings change into something much more measured and true. The development of the love story is a vivid personification of Judith's personal growth, and another favorite thing about this book.
4) Support: Instead of being welcomed back immediately after her disappearance, Judith's family and village immediately mistrust her. But as Judith begins to peal herself from the background, she finds friends and support that are also integral in her healing and growth. Although I dislike that no one stepped in to support Judith immediately after her return, I can understand it partially because of Judith' mother's negative behavior, the beliefs of her conservative community, and also the ways that Judith's own psychological trauma led her to separate herself from everyone else.
I was most surprised by the relationship Judith develops with her brother Darrell. Although he begins the story foolish and selfish, their dynamic changes significantly throughout the course of the book. I adored the quiet bond they formed.
5) Story: The truth about Judith's disappearance is revealed slowly, in very digestible portions that are interspersed within the present narrative. Sometimes when a book relies on flashback, it slows down the narrative (I am notoriously hesitant about books that rely heavily on flashbacks). But the author reveals information in a natural way, that never stunted the pace of her tale. The entire book, in fact is written in very tiny chapter segments that read very quickly.
All The Truth That's In Me is a fast read that riveted me from start to finish. I found myself connecting more to the quieter, personal moments in this story, than the big climax at the end. But truly, this is a uniquely told and very readable story, of loss, longing, love, survival and finding the will to speak even after you've been silenced.
Love Triangle Factor: Mild
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone