Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Things I Loved About All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

Julie Berry has become one of those authors whose books I wait impatiently for. When I saw this one I literally danced in the aisles of my bookstore and took it home and devoured it. If you want to know more about Julie Berry or her other books you can check out her website, blog, or her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.
Now - here are my top 10 things I loved about her book All the Truth That's in Me.
  1. This is the closest I've ever found to a young adult novel written in 2nd person and it fascinated me. Even though it's technically a 1st person narrative, so much of it is directed at Lucas that it feels as though it's written in 2nd person. I loved it. It's so hard to do, but Berry does it brilliantly and with purpose.
  2. The narrative style is so unique as well. In some very tiny ways it reminded me of Juliet from Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series or Fia from Kiersten White's Mind Games duology. Judith's mental state is so clearly reflected in her narration. At the beginning of the book the narrative is almost stream of consciousness and at times nearly incomprehensible as she jumps from thought to thought and shies away from very specific topics due to the things that happened to her. However, as the story progresses and her character develops, the narrative slowly shifts and evens out and becomes more coherent and cohesive.
  3. The book is set in the American colonial period (at least from what I could tell). I have found few books that can tell a really good young adult story in that period. And this one does.
  4. Judith. I loved the way her character developed and the ways she learned to cope with the horrors she had endured. The way her humanity has endured even as she is marginalized and grotesquified by those around her.
  5. Lucas. I know we're seeing him through Judith's very rose colored glasses, but you come to care for him as you see the way he treats Judith.
  6. Darrel. I never thought he would be one of the things I liked about the book, but his character fills its role well.
  7. Maria. Another character who was developed so effectively through the course of the story. I loved that she was never what you expected her to be.
  8. Berry does not shy away from difficult topics but handles them in an effective and believable way. From the experiences Judith has gone through being abducted and mutilated, to her best friend's disappearance and murder, to the things going on with the school teacher and the reaction of the entire town (and Judith's mother) to Judith, Berry weaves a narrative that feels true to the time, yet completely timely for our modern lives.
  9. The set up of the  book itself. I like the cover art and I absolutely love the pages that divide the sections of the novel. The numerated sections break up the narrative well, especially toward the beginning, helping to move you through what could be a confusing narrative as you adapt to Judith's voice.
  10. The unraveling of the mystery. I was pretty sure I knew what had happened, but as the story progressed I became more and more unsure until all my expectations were turned on their head and I loved the book even more.
So there you have it - 10 things I loved. Did I miss anything you loved about it?

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