Expected Publication: September 26th, 2013
All The Truth That's In Me
By: Julie Berry
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.
Judith is as outcast in Roswell Station, with most of its inhabitants thinking she's dumb and covered by sin due to tragic events from two years ago. She can speak, learn and feel just as she did before - the only difference now is that the boy she loves is ignoring her and she is missing half of her tongue, which her captor cut out of her mouth. No one calls her by name anymore and her brother only addresses her as 'Worm.' But when the town comes under attack, Judith must make a decision that will change things forever: retrieve her captor (who everyone in town believes to be dead) and possibly save everyone, or stay silent and watch everyone she cares about die. But the fallout of playing the hero may be greater than Judith ever could have imagined. With both good and bad consequences rearing their heads, she may be forced to finally tell the truth of what happened in the two years she was gone. Can Judith speak out against Lottie's murderer and clear her own name of evil? Or will Judith be convicted of things she's innocent of? Also, can she ever have another chance with Lucas, the boy she still loves with all her heart?
From the cover and synopsis, I expected this book to be a contemporary fiction book along the lines of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. What I got instead was a historical fiction novel, set in the heart of America during the time of the Puritans and their unyielding beliefs/morals. Judith is a sixteen year old girls who was kidnapped and sent back with half of her tongue cut out. Unable to tell everyone what happened (and not eagerly willing to either, for reasons that become evident when the truth finally comes out at the end), they all assume that her virtue is gone and shun her, much like Old Order Amish used to shun their people who broke the rules and refused repentance. Judith is denied even her basic humanity and the book is told in her letters to Lucas, the boy she has loved since childhood who no longer notices her. This book was heart-wrenching, told with such emotion and hesitance on Judith's part. Yet there was a deeper observation gained from the loss of her speech that lent something truly unique to the narration.
The journey of Judith from the start of this book to the finish is of a girl who has lost her very identity, struggling to regain some sense of self and independence along with it. I loved the connection that grew between Judith and her brother, Darrell, was so wonderful in its reality. They don't all of the sudden love and respect each other. He still calls her names and they still fight. But when Darrell gets wounded in the battle things slowly begin to change. I especially love when Judith starts going to school with Darrell (even if she does have to deal with the creepy schoolmaster making advances on her cause he thinks she can't tell anyone). Her friendship with Maria and their speech therapy were well done, helping Judith to understand that it wasn't wrong or evil for her to speak up for herself again. Maria helps her realize her own strength. The relationship with Lucas seemed really one-sided a lot of the time, probably mostly as an after-effect of the style of the narrative. We see, hear, feel and overall experience things as Judith does. We don't really get any outside points of view or experience perspectives in this one. Judith's revelations at the end of the novel regarding her virtue and the identity of Lottie's killer weren't necessarily truly shocking to me as a reader, but her decision to tell the whole truth struck me as really brave, especially when they all want to punish her for crimes they're unsure of and for just being too different. The transformation of Judith through the novel is something to behold and even with pacing that is awkward sometimes, this book is one of the best that I've read this year. It will destroy you in ways that only a truly good book can. I highly recommend this to readers who like historical fiction and aren't averse to intense subject matter. Not for the faint of heart! :)
VERDICT: 4.75/5 Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is September 26th, 2013.*