ARC Review: All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry – A hauntingly beautiful novel addressed to you

September 3, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

ARC Review: All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry – A hauntingly beautiful novel addressed to youAll The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
Published by HarperCollins Australia on September 26, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
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Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years later, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to her childhood friend, Lucas. He is the boy who has owned her heart for as long as she can remember - even if he doesn′t know it.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose - to continue living in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

Told in a voice that is achingly raw and intimate, this remarkably original novel will haunt and stay with 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 one.

All The Truth That’s In Me is a hauntingly beautiful tale about Judith, a girl who went missing with her best friend and returned 2 years later with half her tongue cut out and mute. The tale is a tragic, chilling, and touching as Judith learns to deal with the past and rebuild herself as a respected person.

Everyone treats Judith as if she’s a ghost, as the townspeople assume that she’s either stupid or pretend she isn’t there, despite being a bright, observant young girl in the past. The treatment of Judith is tearjerkingly sad, cruel at times, and just heart breaking as we witness the townspeople ignoring her, her mother barely acknowledging her, and a schoolmaster wanting to take advantage of her. These people are almost too cruel to be believable, I’m so glad for the one character Maria because otherwise it would be too horrible to bear.

Judith puts up a mental barrier for the horrors that has happened to her and her best friend Lottie, and the mystery behind her ill treatment and her friend’s death are slowly revealed throughout the book. We don’t get any immediate answers for Judith’s trauma and the mystery is dragged out until the end of the book as Judith finally warms up to recalling her memories.

The story is told in a poetic, disjointed fashion that takes a bit of getting used to, but is in a art form in itself. It is written entirely in the second perspective, addressed towards Lucas, a boy she was in love with before the tragedy happened. The story isn’t cohesive as snippets of information are delivered bit by bit, and we don’t get a full picture of what is happening. I enjoyed the literary experience that this poetic, obscure novel provides and Julie Berry definitely knows what story she wants to tell here. I could imagine the book to be studied as a literary art, much like The Book Thief. 

While I enjoyed the poetic, chilling nature of All The Truth That’s In Me, I found Judith’s behaviour towards her tormentor difficult to believe. We find out who he is early on and strangely returns to him for help midway through the book. Even though she’s been mutilated and abused by this man (which is a crime in itself), Judith still relies on the man. There was no rape involved, but the book somehow justifies the man’s actions. I don’t care who you are, or what your intentions were, but child molesting and mutilation is not ok.

It’s a sad story, full of horrible, unsympathetic people and men with questionable intentions. But it’s also one that is haunting, chilling and beautiful one as Judith slowly develops strength and confidence (and perhaps even love) to overcome her speech challenges and become acknowledged as a person again. Overall, an interesting debut with interesting prose and direction, but although the novel is dark, raw and doesn’t hold anything back. If you have the patience for unusual prose and second person narration, it’s definitely worth reading for how different and beautiful it is.

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for the opportunity to provide an honest review of All The Truth That’s In Me. All The Truth That’s In Me will be released September 26, 2013.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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25 responses to “ARC Review: All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry – A hauntingly beautiful novel addressed to you

  1. Thanks for commenting on my review. 🙂

    Yes, I agree. I think maybe the emphasis on Judith not blaming (I don't think she did blame him in the end??) her attacker wasn't okay. And I was sure she wouldn't love Lucas after that, but wow. She was an amazing person.

  2. Thanks Amir, I can't wait for you to check out this book too! There were definitely traces of stockholm syndrome, and it sort of explains why in the book (although not convincingly enough, from my point of view anyways).

  3. Good luck with your review request on Netgalley! I'm sort of glad I warned everyone because me coming in at it blindly sort of was surprising, a little. I hope you enjoy it too 🙂

    • Good point Leeanna, I think we all had a bit of difficulty with this book. I really struggled between a 3 and a 4 and still not sure about whether I made the right choice. It happens, I guess! Good luck for your review, link me when you end up putting it up!

  4. It seems like I'll definitely have to have a read of this book! I've seen good reviews of it thrown left and right! While it does sound like it's touching on some controversial issues, it also sounds quite unique. I'm curious to see how this second person perspective works out.

    Nice review Jeann!
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  5. Oh wow. That first paragraph alone was enough to depress me a bit. I'm not uncomfortable with needless cruelty in the book, but I'd be interested to find out why the townspeople are acting that way towards a victim.

    And you coming back to ask for help from the man who abducted and mutilated you and your friend? That's stockholm syndrome at its finest. I think I'd definitely check this book out, but I'd have to brace myself for the cruelty. As always, another great review 🙂
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    • Yeah, days after reading it I'm still trying to process the whole experience in my mind. I keep on going back and forth with my review between a 3.5 or a 4 but I think the whole chilling, cruel experience needed a mention. I can definitely see this being a big literary hit though! Thanks for visiting Mel.

  6. I am fascinated by anything that deals even slightly with Stockholm Syndrome, which this seems to do a bit based on your review, but I don't know if I can handle all the darkness this seems to contain.

    I think I'll add this to my "Maybe" shelf based on your 3.5.

    • Thanks for visiting Kate! If you enjoy that then I think you will like All The Truth In Me. I think my rating was reminiscent from the feelings that I felt from all the cruelness that was within it, but overall it was a unique and interesting story.

    • Thanks Laura, it looks like all the reviews are glowing at the moment so I'm glad to provide a bit of criticism about the book. Can't wait to see your review! I'll go check out your blog now