#bookreview The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr @penguinrandom

Amazon blurb:

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

My reading experience:

A perfect successor to the One Memory of Flora Banks, this tale of Ella Black, a young woman who believes she has an alternate personality, is highly recommended YA fiction.

… 40 days until she dies …

Ella is a terribly normal young woman with angst and 21st century social discomfort. Her best friend Jack is her rock but not even he knows about Bella – “bad Ella” as Ella has coined her. Bella makes an appearance most days in Ella’s life and she has developed strategies to manage her as best as she can. And then one day she is wrenched from school by her parents and flown to Rio – something so out of the ordinary Ella is stunned. Her parents refuse to tell her why and slowly Ella realises that Bella seems to be quiet. In that silence she starts remembering hospital visits as a small child. Ella has to confront her parents and find out the real reason for their spontaneous trip to sunnier parts.

this is a perfectly intriguing read with imaginative twists, youth dialogue and character, and a decent YA perspective. Where Flora Banks had lost her ability to store memories, Ella Black has a voice in her head steering her towards dark behaviour and thought streams. As with Flora Banks we are whisked away to an outlandish location, this time Rio – something out of the characters’ usual radius.

The reader can really get stuck into an Emily Barr story, the chapters are well placed, the story easy to follow, but with nooks and crannies, secret chests and jewelled moments of realisation. Barr creates her protagonist in such a way that she is faceted and without doubt there is something that all readers can relate and therefore respond to. Once you’ve captured a splinter of my soul the rest is easy.

Themes: friendship, secrets, adoption, Rio,transparent parenting, binge drinking, abandonment

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for my free ARC.


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