All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

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All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: While it doesn't always work and can feel gimmicky at times, there's enough strong points to this story of a voiceless girl to make it worth while taking a look at. Julie Berry popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0670786152

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Shortlisted for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal

Four years ago, Judith and another girl disappeared. Two years ago, Judith came back alone, and unable to speak. Shunned by most of the people in her close-knit community, can she find her voice to save those around her, and herself?

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one, having seen only a little bit of the publicity for it, but it was intriguing enough to pick up. I found Judith's narrative voice difficult enough to get hooked by that I nearly put it down very quickly, to be honest. It's told in the form of a letter to childhood friend and crush Lucas, and the second-person narrative is unusual and, at first, jarring. However, in a similar vein to How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, when I kept going I eventually got used to the voice and drawn in by it. That's not to say it's as good as Rosoff's classic - but it's an interesting style which is worth persisting with, and makes the book stand out as something really different from the majority of recent fiction.

That difference, to be honest, is both the book's strength and its weakness. Yes, it stands out from the crowd, but I couldn't help feeling at times that the style was more of an attempt to stand out rather than one which suited the story that well. Having said that, after persisting, I found it an engaging read - but would I have carried on with it, rather than putting it down early on, if I wasn't reviewing it? I'm not sure. I found the characters reasonably interesting, the villains truly evil, and the plot was unpredictable. All good things, of course - but opposed to them, there's a couple of characters whose motivations I had real problems understanding, and I found the central idea not to stand up to too much scrutiny. I think the idea of a girl rendered literally voiceless in a society which is already pretty suffocating towards girls of her age is superb. I'm not altogether convinced it's explained that well - even unable to speak or write, it seemed difficult to believe that two years would pass without her making more of an effort to find another way to communicate some important information.

Am I overthinking it? Perhaps I am. There's a lot to like here in many ways, and it's unusual and striking enough to have a decent chance of doing well in awards. I just think there's slightly too many flaws to make it that much of a recommendation.

Certainly worth borrowing, at the very least, and I'd encourage anyone else who struggles with the first fifty pages or so to stick with it. Mild recommendation, and I'll be interested in seeing more from Julie Berry.

I think fans of the style here will definitely love How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.

Bookinterviews.jpg Julie Berry was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

Buy All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry at Amazon.co.uk.


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