All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
A group of teens has become completely obsessed with the novel Undertow and they are absolutely delighted to form a close friendship with YA author Fatima Ro after meeting her at a book signing. After sharing secrets with their trusted idol, the teenagers are shocked when Fatima’s new novel is published. It completely parallels their lives. As her book races up the bestseller charts, the teens discover that their beloved author and so-called friend has suddenly vanished, is totally unreachable, and the book’s revelations are having some very grave real-life consequences for them.
Presented as a series of interview transcripts, emails, articles and excerpts from the controversial book, this novel is refreshingly and appealingly formatted and really tough to put down. It explores the ethical responsibilities of writers and raises questions about celebrity worship, fandom, and boundaries. This book comes at a time when we are regularly learning of manipulative and exploitative behaviour from people in positions of power: it’s cautionary in this light and gives readers plenty to think about.
These characters, who boast Gossip Girl levels of privilege, are difficult to warm to but the toxic friendships that play out, and the book’s timely exploration of the possibilities for redemption after causing great harm, will surely provoke plenty of interesting discussions. This is a highly original plot and will be thoroughly enjoyed by YA readers aged 13+.