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Review: All That’s True, Jackie Lee Miles

Andi is a young girl from an upper class Southern family. Years ago, she would have been a proper Southern belle, but for the moment she’s struggling to get over her brother’s death from drugs and the realization that her father is sleeping with her best friend’s stepmother. With all the awkwardness of an early teenage girl, Andi imagines herself to be in love with a number of boys, struggles through difficult issues she’s too young for, fights against wearing a child’s dress for her big sister’s wedding, and charms everyone in sight with her genuine kindness and good will.

This is such an incredibly sweet coming of age story. Andi visibly matures as the novel goes on. She’s faced with tough dilemma after dilemma – her brother’s death, her father’s infidelity, her mother’s alcoholism, even her best friend heading to boarding school. But she handles it all, even when she thinks she’s not able to, and is an absolutely adorable character. Her voice is so true to teenagerhood that some of her thoughts could easily have come out of my own head at that age, even though not nearly so many atrocious things happened in my early teenage years. She’s a drama queen and overimagines everything, but don’t all teenagers?

The best, and most adorable, example of this is her habit of imagining herself in love with a few boys and men throughout the course of the novel. In one particularly charming situation, she’s convinced herself that she’s in love with a soldier who is off at war. She writes him letter after letter, not really noticing that he’s not writing back – and then his mother comes over with the news. He’s been injured, not fatally, but in his hands. Andi is devastated and blurts out that he and she were going together, only to be told that he’s actually engaged. What a mortifying and devastating moment for a thirteen year old!

Something else I sincerely appreciated about this book was Andi’s faith. It’s never pushed on the reader, it’s simply presented as a component of her personality. It underlines quite a bit of what she does, like volunteering at a soup kitchen and reading to elderly people, and her faith remains a lodestone for her. It seemed refreshingly real to me, without the author preaching to us in any way. It’s another part of Andi’s life, not everything to her. She even complains about being an altar server, just like I did when I had to be one as a child.

All That’s True is a great, engaging read about a teenager coming into her own. As she comes to realize things about her life and develop her personality fully, we can’t help but fall in love with her and eagerly go along for the ride. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers and adults everywhere.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from the publisher.

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