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Every once in a while I come across a plot of a book that intrigues me so much that I will not stop thinking about it until I get myself a copy of it to devour as quickly as possible. All of This is True is a prime example of this. Once I heard about it I knew I would LOVE this book, and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the book to read!
In this gripping, genre-defying YA novel, four Long Island teens befriend a bestselling YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book—with devastating consequences. Told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book, this recounting of a fictional scandal is a total page-turner.
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
First of all, I want to say I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it would be to write such a complex format. I have said this many times before but I LOVE books with interesting formats and take advantage of telling a story in a non-conventional way. When I found out this novel was told through interviews, novel excerpts, and diary entries I got SO excited. I applaud the author’s talent, all the sections flowed together so well it was amazing. You didn’t feel like you were jumping around between perspectives, time periods and stories, it all fit together perfectly and told this thrilling story in such a seamless way. Seriously, I could go on and on about how amazing the writing was.
At the beginning, I was a little concerned that I would have a hard time keeping the main characters straight. I talk about this a lot but I have a hard time keeping characters straight in most books, so I get nervous when I start a book with multiple POVs like All of This is True. I found that once I got into the book more, and started to understand the opinions and personalities of the main girls, I still did have a bit of a hard time remembering who was who especially because each girl also had a counterpart in the novel within All of This is True that was based on them.
This book is one that you will speed right through and then realize you are at the end because of how captivating it is. The story of an author manipulating these characters in order to write a book about their lives is such a creative concept that I couldn’t wait to find out the ending, I’m sure that many many people will describe this book as unique as more read it, but that is truly what it is. Peñaflor does a fantastic job building this puzzle of a story, I can tell this book will be one that I will recommend to a bunch of my friends.
As the synopsis mentions, this is a genre-defying novel. While filling out the book details earlier in this post, I struggled to decide what genre to place it in. I stuck with what Goodreads lists: contemporary and young adult. Even if you don’t normally read contemporary novels, I think you would still enjoy this. It has hints of a mystery and a thriller so it has something for everyone.
Without spoiling it, there’s not much I can say besides that it has some of the best writing I’ve seen, with some of the most interesting and complex characters. Specifically, I was drawn to the personality of Fatima throughout the book because she was such a mystery. I keep going back to read bits of this book after knowing the end and realizing how all the things she said and did relate to her motives, it’s fascinating how well planned the timeline of this book is!
I very much recommend All of This is True and really urge you all to grab a copy when it releases in May of this year!
p.s I absolutely cannot wait for the cover reveal for this book, like its actually killing me how excited I am.