REVIEW by Maya Wood

NWR Issue 102

All the Truth That’s In Me

by Julie Berry

All the Truth That’s In Me tells the story of Judith Finch, an eighteen-year old that disappeared four years ago from her small Colonial town. Her friend Lottie was also taken and is later found dead, but after two years, Judith returns, alive but missing her tongue. Unable to tell anyone what happened, she lives as an outcast and is shunned by even her mother. She silently pours out her thoughts to Lucas, the boy she loves, but has given up the idea of ever talking again or being accepted for who she is.

There were several things that really made this book stand out from the crowd for me. Written from the perspective of Judith as though she’s talking to Lucas, All the Truth That’s In Me is one of only two novels I’ve read that’s told in the second person. It’s also told in very short chapters which, as well as keeping the story pacey, meant there was always the temptation to read a couple more chapters before I had to put it down!

The way All the Truth That’s In Me is written struck me as being quite lyrical, almost like a verse novel. There was a certain rhythm to the prose which I really liked as it added to the sense that I was reading something quite different and original.

The time period in which the novel is set is never fully revealed, but the small, very religious town does hint at Colonial America. Since this isn’t a setting that occurs very often in Young Adult fiction, that aspect was interesting. It’s also very important to Judith’s story, because if the town had been less religious or superstitious, she wouldn’t have been treated in the way she was. Most of her neighbours either ignore or despise Judith and it’s very easy to sympathise with her and even become angry with some characters on her behalf. Mrs Finch, Judith’s mother, really frustrated me. Judith’s father died while she was missing, and Mrs Finch blames her for this. Her treatment of her daughter was awful but at the same time the reader is made to sympathise by being shown how upset the older woman was at her husband’s death.

On the other hand, we have Maria, one of the very few people who doesn’t look upon Judith any differently for being mute. The two become friends and the way Maria encourages Judith in her attempt to regain her speech is very touching. As Judith finds her voice, she also discovers her lost sense of confidence, and when she finally achieves the courage to stand up for herself I was positively cheering.

At the beginning of All the Truth That’s In Me there’s a lot that the reader doesn’t know, and Julie Berry is very good at dropping clues and pieces of information at just the right time to slowly build up the tension. A bigger picture is gradually revealed although we don’t find out the whole story surrounding Judith’s abduction until the very end.

At the same time, this is in many ways a love story although it’s certainly unlike any other romance novel I’ve read (admittedly, this isn’t very many). Judith has been in love with Lucas for a long time but won’t allow herself to imagine that he could feel the same. Although this strand of the plot was a little predictable, it was still sweet and I was very glad when Judith had her happy ending.

Altogether this was a really lovely story and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. I think it would appeal to teen and adult readers alike and anyone looking for something a little different from their usual read will welcome All the Truth That’s In Me. I’d happily read it again.

Maya Wood is a teenage book addict who reviews and blogs at The Book Nook


previous review: Claudia Williams: An Intimate Acquaintance
next review: The Story of Antigone


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