The premise of All of This is True is a book nerd’s most amazing dream and worst nightmare.
Four teens get the chance to meet the author of the book that changed their lives. They’re obsessed. So when they go to Fatima Ro’s signing, they decide to hang back a bit with the hopes of getting to connect with her.
Well, it works. And what results is this strange relationship between four teenagers and a grown ass woman (she’s in her early twenties, but that’s still a freaking adult). This relationship ultimately leads to Fatima’s next book being published, which is blatantly about these teenagers and the secrets that they shared with her.
Sounds amazing right? I mean I refuse to pick up a contemporary unless it promises the dark and twisty. And I was definitely getting some Swim Fan vibes, so I was all in.
And I was so disappointed.
First off, this story is told through media-esque transcripts. You have two perspectives from the transcripts of a video interview, one from journals posted by a magazine, and the last perspective is from the new book, written about the teens.
I figured this out before checking the book out and thought I would still give it a chance. If anything, it would just make it a quicker read.
It did make it a fast read since I read it one day. But it made it so damn hard to connect to anyone. I don’t give a shit about a single character. I cared about Penny for like a split second, but she’s just so vapid that it’s impossible.
Speaking of characters, I could hardly tell the difference between any of the girls. Soleil was easier because she was speaking through her journals. But Miri and Penny were speaking through interviews with the same guy, so they blended. In the first interview, Miri was very different. She spoke eloquently, but she quickly morphed into sounding just like Penny, and then there was no hope.
Then there is the really annoying fact that this fictional author is a shitty writer. The reason these teens are so obsessed with this author is that this book was life-changing. It spoke to them on this is insane spiritual level, it was deep and complex and profound.
So why is it that from the excerpts from her new book, it was written like a bad YA contemporary. There was nothing deep or profound. It was boring and I hated those sections so much. I did not get the feeling that her first book could have been good at all, let alone mind-blowing.
Not to mention that when it says she wrote about these teens, I mean she was literal. The excerpts from the book filled in the blanks from the interviews because it was word for word. It’s so confusing that at one point the wrong author’s name is used. So if the editor can miss it, then it’s probably too much of a mess.
I know I’m completely dumping on this book, but I have just have two more issues I want to discuss (many more issues, but only two to talk about here).
First, this relationship is fucked up between these kids and this adult. In the book excerpts, Brady (who is the fictional version of Jonah) is the only link we have to Jonah in “real life.” So Fatima is speaking for him. There is this part where Brady and his girlfriend are about to have sex in fictional Fatima’s bed and he thinks to himself something along the lines of “this is like having sex with her and the fictional version of Fatima” which means this bitch thought that was a cool sentiment to make this fictional version of her teenage guy friend think. Not to mention, the girlfriend blabs the entirety of her sexual experiences to this adult who then writes about them in detail. That is gross.
The second issue here is that we are left with ZERO answers. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but one of the things that we are left without is a resolution to the above problem. It’s not addressed that this is a toxic, power playing, and fucked up situation. And that makes me so angry. In fact, they push for the ending of the book for you to see Fatima as a good person. No. She’s a creep.
However, as much as I did not enjoy this book, I did give it two stars. One of the reasons for this is simply because it was grammatically correct, with no major technical writing issues. I also enjoyed that it explored the theme of redemption and if someone can do something horrible but still be a good person. I just wish it was done better.
Whew! Okay, I am really sorry for the trash review. I’m just a bit irked by a lot of how this book was handled, how there was no character development and the lack of reprimanding for a dangerous and toxic relationship. I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend this book. If you get curious, maybe check it out from the library. I wouldn’t spend my money on it.
Have you read All of This is True? What did you think of it? Let us know below!