All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Released May 15!!
So this book… is wild. And not much else? I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed, because besides the admittedly amazing concept, there is really not that much to love about this book.
So let’s talk.
All Of This Is True follows four teens who spill their secrets to an NY bestselling author; their favorite, in fact. But when this author writes a book focusing around their real-life struggles, the lines of reality and fiction blur, and the four are put in an awful position.
First of all, these characters are unforgivably bland. For a novel with unsympathetic characters to work, you have to feel those characters. You have to connect and relate to forgive bad people for their actions. And honestly… I just didn’t feel that. These people read like caricatures. Penny was the only character I even remotely felt sympathy for in interview chapters. Jonah gains sympathy in early chapters of the fake book, but only through writing that is incrediblyemotionally manipulative.
Since we mentioned the emotionally manipulative Jonah chapters, let’s talk about that. The writing style of this whole book is, let’s be real, amateurish. Which actually could have been fine — except parts of this novel are excerpts from a book written by an author whose first book was an NYT-list, incredibly pretentious mediation on grief. The fact that excerpts of her second novel feel like they could be the writing style of someone who had never written before makes the whole book really unbelievable in its own universe.
And then there’s the fact that despite this book being basically unputdownable — you have to find out what happens — the actual book only lays down a few reveals , and most are guessable very early on . [The ending is especially weak on this point.] I tend to seriously love hard-to-guess-but-not-out-of-nowhere reveals and live for them in my suspense / mystery reads, so I guess the lack of shocking reveals sort of hampered my enjoyment of this one?
The upside to this one is that it is — and I am so not kidding — impossible to put down. I read most of this book during a study period that I had promised myself I’d use for a certain long-term project. I was also in a slump the week this happened. I could not put it down.
So overall, even though I wasn’t all that impressed by all the dynamics and elements here, I’d give this one a overall somewhat positive review. It was marketed as a cheesy YA thriller and it gave me cheesy YA thriller. Just be sure that’s what you’re expecting, and you’ll enjoy it enough.
Have you read this one? Are you interested? How do you feel about YA thrillers like this one that are fast paced but not amazing? Let me know in the comments!