Julie Berry's new book, "All the Truth That's In Me," is a beautifully told young adult offering that is unforgettable.
Two years after Judith Finch and her best friend disappeared, she returns home with her tongue cut out. The horrifying act is told off screen, but her efforts to talk — or her years of keeping silent — are told in sharp detail. Her mother scorns her and Judith has floated like a ghost through her own life in the two years since she returned.
Still, when the people in her village are threatened, she sacrifices practically everything to save them, including many who have rejected her, and unintentionally uncovers long-kept secrets that have many villagers even more suspicious than ever.
The combination of the lovely language and the plot's intriguing twists and turns makes it feel like a book of poetry and a thriller at the same time.
Berry cleverly disguises the precise time and place where the story takes place, leaving the emphasis on Judith. Perhaps it's in America in the 1700s or 1800s or earlier?
Plot elements unfold gradually and naturally and include flashbacks as Judith tries to piece together what happened to her friend and understand the events and intentions of those around her. It easily keeps the pages turning to find out "all the truth that's in her."
Judith narrates her own story in a frank, poetic voice, and often addresses the young man she has always longed for, which sets up a unique storytelling feeling that sounds almost second person. The prose is spare, but elegantly simple and riveting, creating a bond between main character and reader that is rare and compelling.
There is no swearing here and the difficult themes, including murder and possibly violations of the strict moral code, are handled with discretion.
Berry is also the author of "The Amaranth Enchantment," "Secondhand Charm" and the "Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys."
If you go ...
What: Julie Berry book signing
When: Saturday, Oct. 12, 3 p.m.
Where: Provo City Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo
Note: Books provided for sale by the BYU Bookstore; event has been moved from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12.
When: Saturday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of "All the Truth That's in Me" from the King's English.
Margot Hovley's first novel, "Sudden Darkness," was published by Covenant Communications in fall 2012. Find her self-reliance blog at www.mynewoldschool.com and she blogs about her writing adventures at www.margothovley.com.