If you love something, love the creator of that thing, what wouldn’t you do to get close to them? What if they turned out to be far more devious than you and your friends could ever have imagined?
That’s the question that faces the characters in Lygia Day Penaflor’s novel All of This Is True, when Mira, Soleil, and Penny find their secrets on the pages of their idol, Fatima Ro’s, newest book. It’s on the New York Times Bestseller’s List and now their friend Jonah is in the hospital in a coma as a direct result of those secrets being exposed.
Published: 15 May 2018
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mystery
In this genre-defying story from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book—with devastating consequences.
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.
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.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was—and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.
Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…
Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying—and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book—this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
Rating: 2 Stars
I was intrigued by the concept of Penaflor’s novel. There were so many angles to consider, so many aspects for a mystery to pop up from that I was sure I would enjoy it. Add to that the fact that this book is written in alternating formations (interviews, journal entries, etc.), which I have found is a pretty neat way to tell a story (see my eternal love for the Illuminae series).
However, as I was listening to the book, flipping back to the digital edition to take notes, and so forth, I found myself sorely disappointed.
Let me start off by saying that the full audiocast was a brilliant match up of voices and was a wonderful choice over a singular or even only two narrators. The different pitches, the eeriness that was captured in a laugh or a turn of phrase. Between the different characters, whether in an interview or a journal entry, it was easy to sink into the identities of not only Mira, Soleil, and Penny, but Fatima (the author), Nelson (the interviewer), and so on.
The lineup of vocal talent included: Amielynn Abellera, Nora Hunter, Taylor Meskimen, Merritt Hicks, Arnell Powell, Jesse Bernstein, Adam James Conner, Susan Hanfield, Ann Simmons , Mike Rylander, Jay Aaseng, Sharmila Devar, Rachel Jacobs, and Em Eldridge.
Now, to the problems I had.
For the most part the novel was well written. I can admit that and I liked that, but what I didn’t care for was the fact that, unlikeable as the characters were, there was no point to any of it. Whether it was the obvious foolishness or creepiness or hypocrisy displayed in any of the main cast, well written as it was, none of it meant anything in the end. Nobody faced any consequences of their actions with perhaps an exception for Jonah.
The twist, the mystery that was at the crux of the whole thing, that should have made the book feel interesting for far longer? It was easily guessable early on and made the ending a very large SO WHAT for me. That, combined with the characterizations, made the whole work kind of fall flat.
There were a lot of unanswered threads, a lot of questions, that were left untouched in the course of the book that, aside from not being wrapped up at the end of the book, felt like they should have been touched on in the course of the story. For example: the accusations that Fatima stole her story from Soleil, Mira, and Penny. Where was her publisher? Why was there no response from a lawyer? What about her previous story, Undertow, and how there was the very real possibility that she stole that story too? Questions of that nature pop up any time there’s scandal in the book industry, but there didn’t seem to be anything of the kind whirling around Fatima except that she kind of becomes a recluse and cancels a book tour on her own?
There was a lot of potential overall, a great concept, but by tipping her hand early, Penaflor created a let down that ended up making a disappointment instead of a satisfying read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
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