Book Review | The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

“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.”

If this hadn’t been an arc then I would have DNF’d and I am not someone to give up lightly.

I requested this once I saw that it was the newest novel by Emily Barr. I read One Memory of Flora Banks earlier this year and although it had it’s faults, I did enjoy it. The same cannot be said for this one. While written in a similar writing style to Flora Banks, I could not connect in the same way. It felt juvenial and the repetative nature of this one just got annoying.

I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and carry on as I was intrigued by the opening line: “40 days until she dies”. This book had one of the most predictable storylines, I knew what was coming at every turn. I spent the whole time waiting for this big moment that literally had a count down, and it was the biggest anticlimax I have ever seen.

If this wasn’t bad enough there was this ridiculous insta-love that just made me angry. Insta-love is something that really riles me up anyway, but this is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen. “I love you. I fell in love with you completely. I love you with all my heart. I know I’ve only known you a few days but…”. I was so close to banging my head against the wall.

I feel this might be something that a much younger audience might enjoy, but for me it was a non-starter and I don’t think I will be picking up anything else from this author.


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