Finished All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .”
I was going to say that this is one of those books that you’ll either love or hate, but I don’t think that’s true. You could definitely hate it, but I haven’t seen any “OMG I loved this so much!” reviews.
I enjoyed it, but I can’t say I loved it. The format made it really easy to keep reading (texts and interviews, with the occasional excerpt from Fatima’s book about the girls’ lives), but the only mystery for me was whether or not Jonah would survive. The twist about Jonah’s past seemed pretty obviously telegraphed, and so the reveal was more like, “Well, OBVIOUSLY.”
This isn’t a bad book, and I’m not saying “Don’t read it.” The idea behind it is fantastic; wouldn’t we all want to become friends with our favorite author? Even if our lives became book fodder? (Honestly, I would not mind seeing myself as a character in a book; I don’t have super dark secrets and I know my flaws.*) The execution was a little lacking but not to the point where I’m sorry I spent the few hours reading it.
* = So if you see a hermit book nerd who laughs at her own jokes, it’s me. It’s totally me.