Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor
‘You see, you can be in love with a thing the way you can be in love with a person. A thing can trigger the same chemical responses as another human can: oxytocin and vasopressin. Fatima taught me this. Her book proved it.’
Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the All of This is True blog tour! If you haven’t heard about Lygia Day Penaflor’s debut – and if you haven’t, where have you been hiding? – I’m going to share a little more about the book before I tell you what I thought of it (spoiler alert: very, very good things!).
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 their favourite 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…
Intrigued? So was I. But did the story live up to expectations?
The answer to that is a big fat ‘yes’.
When I picked up All of This is True, I was intending to read the first few chapters. I wasn’t expecting to fly through the book in one sitting, looking up a couple of hours later with my heart racing and my mouth dry. This story is utterly addictive – as addictive as Mimi, Soleil and Penny find Fatima Ro’s own story to be.
Yes, the big twist is a tad predictable. However, Lygia Day Penaflor embraces this predictability, meaning that the most interesting part of the plot isn’t what is going to be revealed but how it’s going to happen. At multiple points throughout it feels as though the reveal must be on its way, just for the story to get twisted once again. When the shit finally hits the fan, it’s both relieving and tension-inducing: the secret is out, but it’s not plain sailing.
The most interesting thing about All of This is True has to be the way that it’s told. Miri tells her side of the story via transcripts of an unedited video, while Soleil rewrites her diary entries into magazine articles to let the public hear her side of things. Interspersed throughout are excerpts from Fatima Ro’s second novel, the hotly anticipated follow-up to Undertow, which the girls inspired. I haven’t read a book with a faster pace in a long time. If you think you’ll be able to dip in and out of All of This is True, you’re mistaken.
I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to give too much away, but I highly recommend that you read this book. Everyone is going to be talking about it. This is not a book that you want to miss.
If you’re interested in learning more about All of This is True, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!
I hope you enjoyed my stop on the All of This is True blog tour. Remember to check out the rest of the posts, because there are some really fab bloggers involved!