All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor | SLJ Review

Gr 10 Up –In her latest, which cleverly combines multiple perspectives, Peñaflor provides a psychological study in how the shallow and the profound coexist within the human psyche to foster self-deception.

redstarPEÑAFLOR, Lygia Day. All of This Is True. 432p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062673657. POP

Gr 10 Up –In her latest, which cleverly combines multiple perspectives, Peñaflor provides a psychological study in how the shallow and the profound coexist within the human psyche to foster self-deception. The story unfolds in a series of face-to-face interviews, personal journal entries, and excerpts from a newly released novel. High school juniors Soleil, Miri, and Penny provide their personal accounts of events leading up to the savage beating of their friend Jonah, who remains in the hospital in a coma. They also explain how their formerly favorite author’s just-published book tells a remarkably similar story, but with a very different ending. Newly arrived in Long Island, the attractive and mysterious Jonah begins attending the same exclusive private school as the girls. YA author, Fatima Ro, is also new to the area, where she plans to crank out her second book before a fast-approaching deadline. After meeting the four students at a book signing, Fatima takes them under her wing, intimately involving herself in their personal lives, and she enlists the besotted Soleil to discover the reason for Jonah’s secrecy about his past. Taking to the Internet, Soleil uncovers a hazing incident at another school that involved sexual abuse. Even with its addictive, soap opera-esque intrigue, Peñaflor’s characters remain distinct and believable. Deliciously sordid yet thought-provoking, this will be eaten up by teens. VERDICT A must-have for YA collections.–Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary ­Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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