Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 26, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Source: Own the ebook on my Kindle.
Synopsis: Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb 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.
This book blew me away. When I picked up this book to read along while eating a few Timbits, I had no idea what I’d be getting into. I knew it was going to be sad, but just how sad, I didn’t know. I knew there would probably be romance, but what kind, I didn’t know. I knew the people were Amish, but I didn’t know how Amish. And now I know.
This is probably one of the most painful books I have ever read in my life. If I could, I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone, if only to get a taste of a book outside their normal reading areas.Someone who cries easily should make sure they don’t read this book in public though, because near the end there are bound to be tears just straight-up running down your cheeks. My eyes were leaking at a certain point, and I ended up sleeping on a wet pillow.
Wherever Julie got the idea for this book, I just have to say that she’s brilliant. I knew before I started reading that in the entire book, Judith would somehow be talking to Lucas in her head, but I never really understood the format that would make that possible. Then, last night, when I started reading, I started flipping through the pages of the book since the format was one-of-a-kind. For one, Judith had something I’d nearly call an obsession with Lucas, which kind of freaked me out sometimes, though I guess I can understand why she did it, kind of. What really surprised me was that there was a new chapter about every 2-3 pages, and the entire book was split into 3 different parts, all told to us through Judith’s thoughts and conversations.
The character build-up in the novel was amazing, and barely anyone was who I’d expected them to be. Some mean people weren’t mean at all, and some nice ones weren’t as kind as I’d previously thought. Even Lucas was susceptible to this trend. Judith’s obsession with Lucas was over the top, and yet it was easy to connect with her. At one point in the novel, I felt completely betrayed by Lucas, and felt that Judith was too good for him. Eventually though, I learned that Judith was right, and that “nobody’s perfect,” not even book characters. So yes, I forgave Lucas, and I hope that makes me a better person.
Judith, on the other hand, is one of the nicest, most self-sacrificing people in the world. Sometimes she even scared me since she seemed unable to comprehend a life without Lucas. She was so strong and self-reliant, but even then it was impossible to forget that she was in dire need of a loving person for her to lean on, and than person came in the form of an unexpected childhood beauty as well as an old gossip. The intense yet unclear relationship between the characters kept me reading throughout the night; I began the book under the covers and finished under the same covers at 2 in the morning. The book was that good.
What never ceases to shock me is how Amish communities – supposed God-abiding, safe havens – are really the scariest places of them all. It just goes to show that there is no truly good human on earth. I have now been scared away from all Amish-resembling residences, and know that any book with this theme will have a terrible community. I was shocked and unable to understand, though, Judith’s mother’s hate for her daughter after she returned without half her tongue. After failing to hide Judith’s return from the rest of the community, not only did Judith’s mother threaten her never to open her mouth and speak, but she also believed that Judith had become a prostitute. I don’t know much about good mothering – considering I’m a teen – but I know for a fact that that’s not the way I’d treat my child if she came back to me after being kidnapped. Nothing that mother could ever do would make up for her sins in my eyes. I guess I spent all my forgiveness on Lucas.
I admired how even though the fact that Judith was in love with Lucas was constantly shown through how Judith always saw Lucas at the corner of her vision, or even when I’d read it in her thoughts, it was nice to see that despite looks, the romance didn’t take precedence in the novel. Although the romance was an important part of All the Truth That’s In Me, it was only a side-obsession that added to the book’s overall sense of desperation and mystery. That being said, the conclusions drawn at the end of the story were completely unexpected. I was led to believe one thing, and I came up with about 3 other ideas while reading the book. At the end though, it seemed I drew all the wrong conclusions, purposely misled by the book. It takes talent to do that (especially to moi), and it seems Julie’s got that in plenty.
I’ve never understood why English teachers teach their students the boring books they do . If they need a book about the Amish, instead of reading The Crucible why not read this? Don’t get me wrong,The Crucible was an amazing play, but what is it compared to this? Almost nothing, that’s what. So like I said, everyone should read this book; it’s too good to miss out on. Luckily for some people, this book isn’t preachy in the least. The only sermons summarized in this book pertained to the priest accusing people – mainly Judith and Lucas – of doing un-Christian things, and it made the false Christianity of many people in the community that much more realistic.
In hindsight, when I think about how long and how many ratings later it took me to start reading this book, I should have realized I would have loved the novel. After all, I’d read Julie’s other two YA books and gave them both 5 stars. Now that I know how awesome Julie is, if she ever writes another YA novel, I’ll be the first person to get her book…without even reading the synopsis.