Julie Berry's All the Truth That's In Me has made several award lists, including a Penguin Blue Ribbon selection, A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten title, A 2014 Edgar Award nominee for YA, A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book for 2013, and more. And in this case, I think the book deserves the hype.
This is the second book I've read in the last two weeks with a second person point of view. Like Jennifer Quist's Love Letters from the Angel of Death, this novel is told entirely in second person, as short
snippets directed to Lucas, Judith's childhood friend and the boy who
has her heart. Two years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared
from her small town of Roswell Station (and although this initially made
me think sci-fi, this Roswell has nothing to do with aliens). Judith's
best friend's body was discovered days later, but Judith disappeared for
months. When she finally returned, she had been viciously silenced: her tongue had been cut out.
of the story deals with the aftermath of Judith's traumatic and
mysterious disappearance. Judith's mother largely ignores her,
uncomfortable with the daily reminder of her daughter's violation.
Judith herself won't speak (except in these lovely excerpts to Lucas),
and her brother doesn't seem to notice her struggles. But when enemy
forces assemble against the village, Judith thinks she knows a way to
save her family and friends--but to do so means facing her own
nightmares and weaknesses.
This book surprised me in a lot of good
ways. The language itself was lovely: lyrical, almost poetic prose. But
the story was surprisingly readable. I think I read it in about two
days, pulled along by a quick-paced plot and a burning need to know what
happened to Judith. Many of the other characters also proved to have
unexpected depths, which I liked.