Sunday, September 22, 2013

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Judith returns to her village two years after her friend Lottie was found dead and Judith disappeared.  She returns mutilated, and her mother forbids her to try speaking.  The village treats her like she's been cursed, and Judith sees no future for herself.  In her head, Judith speaks to the boy she's always loved, but who no longer speaks to her.  When her village is attacked, Judith is forced to take action and make decision.  Perhaps she will finally be able to reclaim her voice and speak the truth.

I blazed through this.  I wanted to know what really happened to Judith and hope she would finally get the courage to defend herself from all the people who looked down on her, took advantage of her, and generally treated her like crap.  It did remind me of Speak, a bit, in that something traumatic has happened to a girl and she is unable to tell anyone what happened (although for very different reasons) but eventually finds it in herself to reclaim her voice.

Judith's life is sad, and made harder because of the happy family she remembered.  She returns home after being held captive for two years to find her beloved father has died and her mother seems to be a different person after dealing with the disappearance of her child and the death of her husband.  At first she is joyful at Judith's return, but it quickly turns to fear when she sees what has happened to Judith.  Judith obeys her mother's command to not speak, and when questioned by the village council cannot say what happened to her or defend herself when accusations are made against her. 

For two years Judith has lived in the village in silence.  And object of ridicule and disgust to everyone, including her own family.  Judith keeps watch on the boy she loves but knows she can never be with, Lucas, who while not cruel to her, pays her no attention.

Things begin to change when the village is under attack.  Judith knows someone who can help, if she dares to return.  Her actions set in motion a series of events with both positive and negative consequences.  Lucas starts to be looked on with suspicion, Judith makes a friend who encourages her to speak, and Judith slowly begins to piece together everything that happened and understands who is behind the murder of her friend Lottie.

There are some truly cruel characters that live in Judith's village, but most of them are just indifferent, which hurts just as much.  Lucas' and Judith's relationship evolve, but Lucas is far from perfect and Judith learns to see his flaws and that he's not the perfect boy she made him into.  The story is dark and sad, but Judith is strong and triumphant by the end.

All the Truth That's In Me comes out September 26, 2013.

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