Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: All That's True

All That's True by Jackie Lee Miles

Publication Date: January 2011
Genre: General Fiction/ Young Adult
ISBN-13: 9781402240850

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Jackie Lee Miles on the Web: Website, Blog

Excerpt from All That's True
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

"My life was close to being perfect until my brother Alex got killed. Then my mother started drinking and my father started having sex with Donna, my best friend's stepmother. She's not even thirty years old."

Andi STl James's privileged Atlanta life is turned upside down after her brother's tragic death. As the relationships around her crumble, Andi embarks on a poignant and sometimes laugh-out-loud journey of self-discovery, where she learns the devastating consequences of deception and realizes that making the most of what you've got is a big part of all that is true.


Jackie Lee Miles' coming of age novel, All That's True captures the essence of what it means to be a teenager in today's society. Main character, Andi faces devastating circumstances after the death of her brother. Miles shows adolescence as a tough time for teens and readers will appreciate her clear voice and ability to show the angst that Andi feels as she begins a journey of self discovery.

Andi St. James had the perfect life. A southern girl from an affluent family, Andi see's her life start to unravel after the death of her brother during to a fraternity hazing incident. Her mother and father quickly sink into a kind of despair as they learn that not only is their son dead, but his girlfriend is carrying his unborn child. Seeking comfort from the wrong places her parents turn to alcohol and cheating to bury their feelings. Andi is left to navigate the stormy waters of the teenage years without much guidance and lots of questions. She finds herself dealing with peer pressure, heartache and deception as she journeys into young adulthood.

I liked this book a lot. I felt that the author was able to get across to the reader the difficult circumstances that some teens find themselves in. She was also able to show readers how your life can change in the blink of an eye and how people sometimes make some very poor judgment calls when they are dealing with grief. There were a lot of different issues portrayed in this book and Miles did an excellent job of making sure she spent enough time on each one. Overall I thought the book was a good example of how young adult fiction can transcend the genre and appeal to readers from a lot of different backgrounds and those who don't think this type of book would get their attention.

Andi is a typical teenager who is going through a traumatic experience. Her brother's death seems to catapult the family into a very dark place. I thought Andi was very precocious and understood that her parents were not dealing with things they way they should. I felt sorry for her in a way because she lacked that all important attention that teenagers need. She was about to deal with some pretty daunting things in her life and I felt like she had no one to lean on or any kind of support. I think she was a strong character that is able to take the circumstances and turn them inward and find out a lot about herself and where she fit in the world. I liked her a lot.

The supporting cast in the book fell a little flat for me. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I felt they lost one child and then abandoned the other or not. I just felt like the characters were a little lacking in definition. I didn't feel like I got to know who they were or where their motivation was coming from. I believe the author did an excellent job of showing what not to do with Andi's parents, but that wasn't enough to sell me on the characters. Miles however, shows grief in a very poignant way and the results of making the wrong choices. Deception was a major theme in the book and Andi learns what truth is really all about. I think the author showed a lot of clarity in the situation and I her storytelling skills were excellent. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

I would recommend this one to lovers of young adult fiction and offer it as a possibility to those who aren't quite sure they would enjoy YA. This book is a good foray into the genre and will appeal to wide range of readers.

All That's True is available from your favorite bookseller NOW!

I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jackie Lee Miles lives in Georgia with her husband, where she is a featured speaker at book clubs, schools, and writer's workshops. The author of three novels, Roseflower Creek was her first and published to critical acclaim. When not writing, Ms. Miles tours with The Dixie Diva's, four nationally published book-writing belles.

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