By Julie Berry
Available now from Viking Juvenile (Penguin Random House)
I love the cover for ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME. It's stark, striking, and a beautiful fit for the contents within. Judith and her best friend disappeared from their village four years ago, and Judith recently returned with half of her tongue cut out. Her friend's body was found years ago. Now Judith faces all sorts of suspicion, but can't respond.
I fell into the rhythms of this book almost immediately. ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME is told from Judith in the first person, although many of her words are directed towards her crush, Lucas. Her words are immediate, but have a poetry to them. It's also an interesting head to be in - Judith's experience has aged her in some ways, but it's also kept her isolated from society since she was twelve. It's a hard head to be in, because life has not been kind to Judith. However, things begin to change for her.
ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME was a tense read. As things change, I wasn't sure if everything would turn out alright or if it would only get worse for Judith. Judith has to calculate the risks of what might improve her life and her control of it, and what might make it worse for her.
I found that the setting enhanced the story. Although no specifics are given, it is presumable colonial America. Religion has a great deal of power in the story, and there are local elements that aren't friendly with the townspeople, who have limited access to firearms. Much of the difficulties Judith faces are because it is assumed that she is no longer a virgin. And the townspeople seem to be simple archetypes at first, but many turn out to be more developed. I particularly liked what Julie Berry did with the pretty, popular girl who is Judith's romantic rival.
ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME is an intense historical about a young woman's coming of age in adversity. It's a book unlike any others I have read this year, powerfully feminist and told in beautiful language.