Hello, beautiful people!
A few months ago, Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books contacted me and other French bloggers to know if we would be interested in doing a blog tour for All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor, where we would send each other the ARC week after week, until it got back to Marie, and of course, as I’m typing this today, I said yes. It’s been a wonderful experience and I can’t thank you enough for this, Marie. Anyway, today is my turn to share my review on this book and let me tell you: I adored it. There are so many exciting reviews coming up in the next few days, so go and check out all of these lovely ladies’ reviews while you’re at it!
All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Published: May 15th 2018 by HarperTeen
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Number of pages: 432
Goodreads summary: 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. . . .
“That’s what Fatima said about her novel: you hope that you can reach a few readers here and there, that your message will speak personally to somebody. But you can never know the true impact.“
I received an Advance Reader Copy as part of a French ARC Tour of All Of This Is True organised by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books in exchange for an honest review.
I hadn’t heard about All Of This Is True until Marie started to organise this ARC tour, but when I saw a glowing review by Adam Silvera and that it was about “Four YA-obsessed teens befriend their favourite novelist. What happens next will shock you.”, I knew I needed to add this book to my TBR, because it seemed like quite a different contemporary novel and it intrigued me.
All of This Is True is told through different formats, such as interviews, novel excerpts or diary entries, Lygia Day Peñaflor did a fantastic job at switching between those. When I read novels that use this type of narrative, it often takes me some time to get used to it and that was the case once again, but once I got passed through, I couldn’t stop reading this novel, I was completely engrossed and had to know what would happen next. Writing in different formats doesn’t always work, but in this case, everything flowed together so nicely, it made the book even more addictive and I was so impressed, because it must be quite complicated to write all those layers.
I can’t say much about the plot, considering it has this huge mystery aspect to it and you won’t have all the pieces of the puzzle until the very end, but it was so gripping and thrilling. This novel relied a lot on psychology, even talking about scientific papers on the subject at some point, and it was utterly fascinating to me, as I think figuring out the psychology of a character is quite complicated, but the author did it in such a clever way. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I read it in under 24 hours, because I needed to know the truth. I had guessed some of it, but when I realised everything, I was a bit shocked considering I had
no idea, at first, that the author would go this way.
As the book is told in different formats, we get the points of view of several characters. At first, it was a bit hard for me to distinguish them all, but once I did, it was very interesting because I didn’t know which one I could “trust”. There are different sides to a story and All Of This Is True showed that: it was up to the reader’s interpretation to figure out what he thought of the characters. I really understood all their points of view and related to all of them at different levels. They were all way more than met the eye at first, complex and so flawed. Some things they did were very disturbing at times, but it made sense considering their different situations, so that was realistic.
Moreover, this novel had a big focus on toxic relationships. For a few months now, I’ve been thinking about the messages I wanted to be passed through YA literature and talking about toxic relationships was something I really wanted to read about. In All Of This Is True, you find such dynamics, considering it’s about teenagers who befriend their favourite author, who is six years older than them. Before I talk about their relationship with this author, I have to say that even them didn’t have great relationships with each other, their friendship felt a bit shallow and they were ready to give up on each other so easily, but what happened also brought some of them a bit closer, in the end. It really showed that friendship isn’t easy, neither is finding people who will understand you.
Because the characters admire Fatima and she’s older than them, they would do anything to please her and they believe she is superior to them. It was a very interesting aspect of “stan-culture*” and how you could be ready to do anything to please one of the persons you admire the most and that had always seemed unreachable. You don’t know this person, you could totally be wrong about them, and yet.. When you get the chance to be close to someone who means a lot to you, who somehow changed your life without you knowing their true selves, you can behave differently than with someone you would mean in class, or in a café, or something.
Throughout the whole book, Fatima becomes more and more important into the lives of those teenagers, without them realising how toxic she is for them. I don’t want to reveal too much, but Lygia Day Peñaflor used a phrase that resonated with me to explain those types of relationships, for I’ve had such a relationship in the past and I would have wanted to realise sooner what it really was. Because of that, I think that All Of This Is True depicts toxic relationships in a realistic way and shows the reader all the negative aspects of that, because while you get the points of view of the teenagers, you see them realising the flaws of this relationships and I hope it could help some people recognize the signs of such relationships in the future.
*According to the top definition in the Urban Dictionary, the word “stan“ is Based on the central character in the Eminem song of
the same name, it is an overzealous maniacal fan for any celebrity or athlete.
I also made an aesthetic for this novel, as I’ve been doing for all the books I read this year, so I thought it would be the best time to share it!
Overall, I adored All Of This Is True: it is told in interesting formats, has fleshed-out characters and is trying to get through such important messages. I really want to read more contemporary novels that talk about such things and I will be sure to keep an eye on what Lygia Day Peñaflor will write next. I tried not to say too much about the plot, but there were some aspects I really wanted to talk about it and I’m glad I got to do so.
Are you planning on reading this one?
What was the last contemporary novel that really impressed you?
Lots of love,