All the Truth That’s in Me
by Julie Berry
High School Viking 274 pp.
9/13 978-0-670-78615-2 $17.99 g
Berry’s (The Amaranth Enchantment, rev. 5/09) novel is set in fictional Roswell Station, a village that in its appearance and claustrophobic atmosphere seems to resemble an early American colonial settlement. Bit by bit, readers gradually learn “all the truth” from eighteen-year-old narrator Judith, whose present-tense description of unfolding events, along with memories of the past, tells a harrowing tale. She speaks directly (though only in her head) to Lucas, the boy she’s loved since childhood. It’s her close friendship with Lucas that has helped her survive both a traumatic two-year captivity by a man crazy with grief and her equally painful return home to a town that seems to blame her for the event. Judith can’t defend herself: her captor cut out half her tongue before releasing her. Berry keeps her readers on edge, tantalizing us with pieces of the puzzle right up until the gripping conclusion. Those who care for such things will appreciate the book’s names: Roswell connotes a place of conspiracy and controversy, cover-ups and hysteria; Judith’s last name, Finch, is fitting (she loves to sing, then loses and recovers her voice); and Lucas, of course, is the light of her life. Readers racing through the story’s murder mystery and thrilling romance may miss much of Berry’s lovely, poetic writing; luckily, many will finish only to turn right back to the beginning, this time to savor a more leisurely paced, equally satisfying read.
From the November/December 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.