Summary: Mimi, Soleil, and Penny love Undertow more than the words and metaphors in the book itself can describe. When the girls and the new boy at school, Jonah, get the opportunity to meet the author, Fatima, they concoct a plan to get close to her. As they grow closer to Fatima, secrets that can never be forgotten are exposed—and not just in their friend group, but in Fatima’s latest book. Told over interviews, journal entries, and book excerpts, All of This Is True will leave you questioning what really is true.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I was ortunate to have had the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Edition of All of This Is True back in March, as part of a blog tour hosted by Courtney of Buried in a Bookshelf. If you’re looking for a book to get you out of a reading slump or need a book for a readathon, I cannot recommend All of This Is True enough. The book was my first read of spring break and I ate it up in less than a day! I was just as obsessed with All of This Is True as much as our characters are obsessed with Fatimo Ro and Undertow. Do not be intimidated at all by the book’s size at all (my edition was 400+ pages) because I promise you that you won’t even realize you’ve blown through a hundred pages at a time until you hit the end.
I think my inability to put this book down was largely because of the book’s unique formatting. All of This Is True takes us from the present, when it’s revealed that Fatima wrote her second book based on the friend group, to the start of it all, when Mimi and her friends first become obsessed with Undertow, Fatima’s first book. The story is told through interviews with Mimi, Penny, and other minor characters, Soleil’s journal entries, and excerpts from Fatima’s second book. I especially loved the interviews with Mimi and Penny because they revealed so much about what happened and gave us two really different perspectives, as Mimi defends Fatima the most out of all the characters. The fact that most of the chapters were on the shorter side and weren’t straight-up narratives had me blowing through the pages, and I loved how many shocks Lygia Day Peñaflor delivered in that space. I was also impressed by the attention ro detail in each format – the page and book/chapter markers at the bottom of each page matched the form of the chapter.
The format constantly reminded me of the TV adaptation of Big Little Lies, and I could SO see an All of This Is True TV or movie adaptation set in the same style, alternating between interviews and what really went down. My only “complaint” about the format is that sometimes the plot was reiterated too much—for example, Miri or Penny would describe how someone ate an apple and then in the next chapter, someone in Fatima’s book would be eating an apple- however, I understand this was done to get the different viewpoints of our characters.
All of This Is True is also a very unique read for the fact that it’s a YA book about a YA book. Mimi, Soleil, Penny, and Jonah almost live some readers’ dreams—becoming best friends with their favorite author. I loved seeing them interact with Fatima and her work, especially when it came to who really felt betrayed by Fatima’s work. I don’t want to go into too many spoilers in this review, but I will say that I did not expect this book to go to such a dark and thrilling place. However, one of my guesses about a certain character’s storyline was indeed correct, but by no means did it affect my reading experience.
One thing to remember about our characters is that they’re privileged, hosting the hottest parties on the Long Island Sound and perfecting their private school uniforms with Chanel brooches. Mimi is definitely supposed to be our perfectionist, Jonah as the quiet boy with a mysterious past, and Soleil is our artsy and creative type, looking to Fatima for advice (more like psychological analyses) and inspiration. My favorite character in the book was Penny. She’s set up to be the least suspecting character, but her role in how things go down with Fatima was larger than I could have imagined. It made me sad how much she wanted to be noticed by Fatima and her friends, but I think she was the most genuine out of the group. And before things really get crazy, she has some really funny one-liners:
“I’m really into design, you know. I watch Mad Men”
“Isn’t it crazy? I mean, I never thought that Fatima Ro would eat at an Olive Garden”
Overall, I highly recommend All of This Is True for its metafictional and psychologically-thrilling story— it’s too crazy to pass up, people! Add it to your readathon/summer/ you must read this book TBR immediately!
All of This Is True comes out on May 15, 2018.
Want more reviews? Check out some of my fellow blog tour members’ posts?