Penny, Miri and Soleil are obsessed with the novel Undertow by Fatima Ro. They worship it, they worship her. When they meet Fatima at a signing, she wants to be friends with them and the girls can’t believe their luck. But how much of their friendship is authentic, and how much is an author fishing for a new story? The novel’s strength lies in its format which switches between transcript from interviews with Penny and Miri, Soleil’s journal entries published for all the world to see, and excerpts from Fatima Ro’s controversial novel.
Peñaflor is a skilled storyteller, blurring the lines between truth and fiction while getting us to believe every word of it. This is an important examination of idolatry for today’s youth, as we worship celebrities more than ever. Peñaflor tackles lots of relevant themes for young people today such as social media, peer pressure, hazing, sexual assault. For the next reprint, the publishers should consider putting a trigger warning on the back. Having said this, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to young people and adults alike. A cautionary tale about obsession and betrayal, All of This is True is a ravenous book you’ll have to devour in one sitting.