Sunday, September 29, 2013
A New Voice: All The Truth That's In Me
Viking Juvinille, 2013
*e-ARC provided by publishing company via NetGalley - Thank You!*
Four years ago, Judith and her best friend went missing from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith came back with half her tongue cut out. In the time since her return, she's been shunned by her mother and is mostly ignored by the town, but when events unfold Judith must make a choice: she can continue to live like a ghost among the living or she can reclaim her place, her voice, and finally reveal the truth she's been carrying around for so long.
Berry's novel is unlike any book I've encountered before. In the most obvious way, it's told in 2nd person, as readers quickly learn these diary entries/letters are being addressed not to the reader necessarily, but to Lucas, the boy that Judith has been in love with her entire life. It took a while to get used to, but after a while it became less jarring. It's also a sparse novel when it comes to its style and prose - entries are often short, sometimes only a paragraph or two, sometimes flashbacks - yet they carry with them incredible weight and paint a strong picture. Berry doesn't say some things outright - I got the very strong impression that Judith was growing up in Puritan New England, but that is never explicitly stated. Also, the men of Roswell Station go to battle, but I wasn't quite sure against who or why. Perhaps I was reading so quickly - despite some of my misunderstandings, I was very easily caught up in this story - that I missed some of these details along the way. If you are a fan of novels in verse, you will probably find this style to your liking.
This novel is a gentle blending of genres in a way. It's part historical, part mystery as readers don't discover what Judith knows for a while. If you stick with it, you may be surprised as I was. I know the truth wasn't what I was expecting.
In short, I was intrigued by this book, but it was a one-time read for me. It was interesting to see a story told in such a different way, and I appreciate the courage it took to make that stylistic choice.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
Julie Berry's Website
Julie Berry on Twitter