It’s not often I get pulled into a blurb on a Netgalley email but that’s exactly what happened with Emily Barr’s The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. Although the beginning threw me a bit, once I got further into the story, the more I enjoyed it.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 2450.0 KB
Print Length: 349 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141367008
Publisher: Penguin (12 Oct. 2017)
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 . . .
I have to be honest and say that at first the story wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. But that’s only because I wasn’t prepared for Ella’s psychological defence mechanism. It’s an important part of the story and tells us much more about her first experiences than words, however, it took me quite a while to feel anything for Ella. Once that kicked in the countdown meant much more to me …
There are many layers to The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. Yes, it’s a coming of age story (although I would hazard a guess that you haven’t read one quite like this) but it is so much more. Her reactions at first are a typical teen with the world revolving around her. Her experiences on the run teach her a lot, not just about life but about herself too. She experiences love and betrayal. It’s been interesting seeing Ella change from a 17yo wrapped up in cotton wool to a force to be reckoned with.
Things changed for me in the favela. My heart got involved. As the countdown brought us closer to the day I just didn’t want it to happen. She’d found her tribe (even it was only temporary) and surely there would be a future for her? What could possibly happen?
There’s more than one twist to this story. The ending turned everything I thought upside down. Now I wasn’t so sure. Learnt behaviour? Nature? Nurture? What did that say about her adopted parents? I love a story that is ambiguous and leaves me with no concrete answers. Plenty to ponder …
YA readers will identify with the feelings of a teen and possibly take inspiration from Ella’s experiences. Strength, determination, resilience. Traits we all aspire to. One for your reading lists.
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