I guess I didn’t realize when I added All the Truth That’s in Me to my To-Be-Read list that it was Young Adult fiction. (Not that I have anything against YA; I adore it, it just wasn’t the tone I was expecting.) I knew it was the story of two girls who were abducted and, in particular, the story of the one of them who escaped and returned to their town and was shunned for having survived, although mute and disfigured. I thought it was a horror story a la Lauren Beukes superb The Shining Girls or Koethi Zan’s The Never List.
Once I started reading, however, I realized that Julie Berry’s novel wasn’t going to quite live up to my expectations (however unfairly high they were set). The writing was a bit choppy in places and seemed a bit…off? A while later, I realized that the novel was a period piece, although I couldn’t quite decide if it was set in colonial America (or elsewhere) or some dystopian future. There were odd word choices and the phrasing wasn’t always quite right. Also the pacing was short and blocky – there were never any extended scenes. I acclimated and decided Berry was making the most of her writing style by switching up the scenes quickly and whatever was lacking in writing style was covered by how catchy the story was. I needed a bit of a love story, and that’s just what this was, as the mute survivor pined after her childhood love.
There were enough twists and turns to keep me reading even after I decided to return the ebook…I needed to know what happened with each revelation, and then they kept stacking up and somehow I kept swiping through the pages. Hardly any of the characters had much depth, but I was okay with that. I wanted an easy read with a bit of romance to it and that’s just what this was. The historical nature was a bit distracting at times – I think Berry needed to either strip that element out or go a bit further in anchoring it firmly in a set place and time – but I seemed to get past it okay enough to enjoy a few hours entertainment.
The problem is how do I rate a book like that? Certainly I would recommend you borrow this one, don’t buy (unless maybe you find it in a bargain bin). Could I read it again? Ehhhh…maybe if I was sick and needed mindless reading. When you need wish-fulfillment without a bunch of logic cluttering it up, this’ll do nicely. And it did keep me reading even after I decided I was rather frustrated and disappointed. So I guess it gets 2 1/2 stars out of 5 and liken it to a nice 30-minute comedy you leave on the TV because you’re too lazy to get up and find the remote.