Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
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In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book—with devastating consequences.

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.

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.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was—and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.

Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price...

Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying—and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book—this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.


I've been following All of This is True since it was first announced. It sound unique. I mean, a story about a group of teens befriending their favorite author? I haven't seen that before! I was also excited about the mystery. As more details were revealed, the more excited I became. I couldn't wait to dive in! 

The result? All of This is True isn't exactly what I had anticipated, but it's still a juicy and addicting read. I've seen this book compared to Pretty Little Liars several times, and I think that comparison is spot-on. It contains the same addicting, I-can't-get-enough quality of Pretty Little Liars as well as a group of characters that are interesting but not exactly likable.  

One of my favorite parts about All of This is True is the format. It contains interviews, text messages, journal entries, and excerpts from Fatima Ro's book. I wish there were more books like this! Lygia did a wonderful job of bringing everything together, and I loved how she broke everything up. It's hard to describe, but it worked well, as the different medias lined up perfectly. I also appreciated that each character was represented - Miri and Penny through their interviews, Soleil through her journal entries, and Jonah through Fatima's book as well as the girl's portions. 

As I mentioned above, none of the characters in All of This is True are particularly likable. Miri, Penny, and Soleil live incredibly spoiled, opulent lifestyles, and their personalities reflect that. Throughout the book, I couldn't believe some of what they did and said; however, it didn't make me dislike the book. Instead, it made me even more addicted - I couldn't wait to find out what outlandish thing was said or done next. I will say, however, that Penny and Soleil were slightly better than Miri. It was easy to see that Penny just wanted to be loved for who she was not for what she had while Soleil just wanted an honest, healthy relationship with Jonah. I felt for them more so than I did for Miri. Fatima Ro was an interesting character. Some part of me couldn't believe that she would be so willing to hang out with high school students. Yes, she wasn't that much older than them, but it was still odd to think about, especially when you took into consideration her relationship with Jonah. Honestly, sometimes she gave off such a creepy vibe. I don't think I would've been as willing to be her friend as they were. So was the relationship between the four students and Fatima stretched? Slightly. It was hard to believe at times, but at the same time I don't think All of This is True was really aiming for a believable vibe. 

The mystery in All of This is True has been highly talked about; however, I didn't think that it was much of a mystery at times. I know some people have said that they thought the big twist was shocking, but I figured it out pretty early on in the book. It was hard to not see that there was more to what was going on than what was said. Sometimes I don't mind figuring out the twist early on in a book if there's still a good build up to the reveal, but that wasn't exactly the case here. I wish that there had been more twists and turns to it all, more oh-my-goodness moments.  Instead of a mystery, I feel that All of This is True focused primarily on the relationship between the four students and Fatima. I did find in interesting, and I appreciated seeing the start of the relationship, the build up to the end, and then the falling out. I also liked that all three girls had such differing opinions on it all - Miri was an absolute Fatima fangirl to the end while Penny and Soleil were done with Fatima. It was interesting to see how each girl viewed what had happened so differently. 

I was also slightly disappointed by the ending. I wish more details had been given, because I felt as if things were finally getting truly good. I couldn't believe that it ended where it did. 

In all, All of This is True wasn't everything that I had expected, but I still enjoyed reading it. If you love Pretty Little Liars, I think there's a high chance you'll like this one as well. 

3.5 stars!! 


  1. This definitely sounds like a unique concept for a book, and I loved the use of mixed media. It's kind of a bummer that you figured out the twist so early, though!

  2. I am a fan of mixed format books, and am happy to hear it worked well with the story.

  3. Seems like a mixed bag but one I think only intrigues me more. lol I may have to check this one out too!


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