All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Genre: YA Mystery, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction,
Publication: May 15, 2018 from HarperTeen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 432 pages
Format: ARC from the author
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…
Trigger warning: Sexual Assault
Huge thanks to Lygia Day Peñaflor for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review and hosting a PH blog tour. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
When Lygia reached out to me via Twitter DM way back in December of 2017 asking me to gather a couple of Filipino reviewers in exchange for a review copy of her sophomore novel, I literally jumped on the opportunity and sent messages to all of my interested friends. I knew I had to host this blog tour. Because ever since I’ve heard of All of This Is True, I can barely think about other books. The idea of Lygia’s newest book was THAT gripping. And so just days upon receipt of the ARC, I read and powered through it. Never have I ever read a mystery book that I love more than All of This Is True. Read on for a detailed review.
The unique writing style is one of the many reasons as to why I loved this immensely. I mean, I’m no stranger to books that are written in a different way. I’ve read Illuminae, Sleeping Giants, Love Rosie, and a lot of other similar titles. But this is something new, albeit still a little familiar. Told through several transcribed media interviews, journal entries, text messages, and book excerpts, All of This Is True follows the story of an infamous author who wrote a sensitive, autobiographical novel about the lives of those who looked up to her whose lives weren’t meant to be shoved into the spotlight in the first place.
And to add up to the the impressive writing style, I also liked that most, if not all, scenes were all a little confusingly arranged. And don’t get me wrong, I mean this in a good way. In my opinion, it added to the mystery factor of the overall story, and it definitely help build up my curiosity and anticipation. I love how every interview and journal entry help solve the mystery of what really happened to a certain character, and reading this book was like watching an episode of How To Get Away With Murder, where most of the basic details of the story are served to you during the first few parts of the story. As the story slowly unravels, though, every answer to the mysteries are slowly offered to you. You should just be ready to grab onto these answers so you’ll understand the story better.
And lastly, I have to commend Lygia Peñaflor for wanting to and pulling off writing such a sensitive story that tackles modern day rape culture, and albeit there were scenes that I grew disgusted of, I still can’t deny the fact that I really enjoyed being enlightened about the topic. Way back in 2017, I didn’t read books that tackled themes like sexual assault because I personally felt like I wasn’t ready for it yet. But now, I feel just a little bit braver, and I’m glad that this book addressed it subtly. What I didn’t like about it, though, is that it somehow felt a little over sensationalized in a way, with a book being published about it and all. But then again, that’s just me. I also like that in the end, everything was given resolutions and none of my questions regarding these issues were left unanswered. I appreciated that.
“Lygia Day Peñaflor’s sophomore novel, All of This Is True, is as explosive as it is ambitiously mysterious. It sheds light to a very relevant topic, especially for those who are extremely passionate about the things that they admire, whether they be books, music, etc. To me, it perfectly drew the lines between being a friend, being a fan, and being a manipulator. And with an amazingly unique writing style, a fast-paced story line, and riveting twists looming in every turn of the page, Lygia gives her readers a story about deception, betrayal, and redemption that is well-written in every possible aspect. I have no doubt that this will be a favorite for lovers of the genre.”
Have YOU read All of This Is True? What did you think of it? Tell me all about it via the comments section below!
And be sure to check out other blog tour posts below:
Lygia became a writer by writing letters to a friend she met on a cruise ship when she was 14. She is the author of Unscripted Joss Byrd (Macmillan) and All of This Is True, which will be published by HarperTeen US, Bloomsbury UK, and translated in six countries in summer 2018.
Lygia also teaches child stars on television and movie sets. Her students have included cast members of Gossip Girl, Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order SVU, I Am Legend, and others. She lives with her husband on Long Island where she rides horses and watches reruns of everything.
You can follow Lygia on Twitter @lygiaday.
Until the next one!
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