Title: The Truth Against the World
Author: Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Format: Paperback, 360 Pages
ISBN-10: 0738740586 (Flux)
ISBN-13: 978-0738740584 (Flux)
Reviewed by: Kaitlin
In her parents’ San Francisco flat, Olwen Nia Evans, Wyn for short, has been having unsettling dreams about her family’s past in Wales. But her dreams don’t match up with what she’s been told by her dying grandmother, Rhiannon. On the other side of the world, in London, a boy named Gareth Lewis is having disturbing dreams about a frightening encounter with a ghost. A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans.
When he looks for Olwen’s name online, Gareth connects with Wyn in San Francisco as she is preparing to move with her family to fulfill Rhiannon’s last wish to die in Wales. Once Wyn arrives in Wales, she and Gareth join forces to discover the truth of the lost soul that’s haunting them both.
Quick & Dirty: A haunting and tragic tale rich with Welsh history, but lacking in action. All the same, I thought it was a very enjoyable read.
Opening Sentence: “Right over there, behind the old church.”
The Truth Against the World is about two teenagers, Gareth and Wyn, who are sure about one thing — their family histories that they have been told are filled with gaps, and something big happened in them. Brought together by Wyn’s blog and the ghost of a lonely child, Orwen and Gareth must discover the truth no matter what it takes — and bring peace to the restless spirits of a six-year old girl.
Orwen’s great grandmother is a proud Welsh lady, living in the US, and a sick one. We watch with Wyn as her Gee Gee slowly dies an inevitable death with cancer. It’s impossible not to empathize with Wyn, and I really liked her character. She’s shy, but at the same time, strong and proud. Writing is how she expresses her emotions, and reciting Welsh words in her head. And then we have Gareth, of London. He’s a more typical teenager to the naked eye, but we see how he feels in the chapters that are narrated by him. I don’t have much of an opinion when it comes to which point of view was better, because each point of view was unique with a vague poetic quality to it. When it comes to romance in this book, I guess there is a little; no serious relationship or even kissing though. You can see as Gareth and Wyn get closer, but the love moved super slow.
The pacing of this book was definitely slow, but not necessarily in a bad way. For me, it worked, the slowness in which it moved, but I was a patient reader. The author is trying to get across the points and clues in the mystery, and in some ways it works, others it’s overkill. After all, its a kind of complicated storyline and needs a little review to really get it, and I did! For impatient people who love lots of action and romance, I would suggest another novel. But for people willing to wait to get clues to the plot, and don’t mind a lack of action, I think you will enjoy this. It may be slow but there is beautiful descriptions of Welsh scenery and the language, and it has an aura of magic around it.
The imagery of the little ghost girl, Orwen (a different Orwen from the main character, who goes by Wyn) could be creepy at times. It wasn’t a vengeful spirit who wanted revenge or anything, just a sad dead girl who needed help. In one scene, Gareth sees Orwen the ghost in the mirror and his phone rings. When picking it up, he hears her voice talking to him, and let me tell you, this frightened me. I don’t know, when it comes to scary books, this for the most part is on the lower part of the list — but still, very very freaky. But I was reading at night, when it was raining, too, so I’m not that much of a scaredy cat, right?
The Truth Against the World was an enchanting book that I recommend to fans of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Heavily focused on Welsh culture, I loved learning a tiny bit of Welsh, such as hywl fawr: goodbye. The Welsh language is so gorgeous and flowing, and before reading this all I knew about Wales was that it was a place. I’m happy I got to learn more about it the best way I know how, a book! Try out this novel, and hywl fawr.
At first all he heard was the sound of the wind. And then, a voice like a breath, a little girl’s voice.
“You promised.” She whispered. “I’m so lonely. You promised.” All the while, she looked at him, pleading. He felt as if his heart might break, yet at the same time he was terrified. He hung up the phone; put it back on the desk. But he didn’t loom away. Gradually the little girl’s form faded, and all her could see through the window was moonlight and the dark shapes of neighbor’s houses, his own reflection wide-eyed and pale.
FTC Advisory: Flux provided me with a copy of The Truth Against the World. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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