The Truth and Lies of Ella Black Review

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Proof from Penguin Platform (released January 2018)

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.

(This is not the entire synopsis and I am reluctant to include it because going into this with no idea what's happening, like I did, makes it all the more thrilling and the last part of the synopsis is majorly spoilery)

I fell in love with The One Memory of Flora Banks so you can imagine how excited I was when I heard Amy Alward chatting about The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Emily's upcoming release, at YALC. I was lucky enough to pick up a proof from Penguin Platform and it was one of the first things I read when I got home from YALC weekend.

What amazes me is how distinctive Emily Barr's writing style is. You couldn't have two narrators further apart in Ella and Flora but Emily's writing is so unique, you know it's her instantly.

Ella Black is impulsive, irrational, erratic and to be quite honest, a bit of a cow...but you can't help but love her. Ella harbours a dark secret, that she's too ashamed to tell anyone. She has a split personality: Bella (Bad Ella). Bella is pretty much a psychotic version of Ella. Any negative emotion Ella feels, she pushes onto Bella and when Bella emerges, all the negative emotions surface and things get ugly, very quickly...

There was one particular scene which I read, utterly horrified. I went into the book with no real idea of what the book was about (which for this book, I would definitely advise!) and there's a scene where she crushes a bird with a hammer. It's not a significant moment or a main part of the book but it resonated with me throughout the book and shocked me beyond belief. I think because I just wasn't expecting that, at all.

Ella has the perfect life to everyone looking in. A gorgeous house, loving parents, a great school. Then one day, Ella's parents pick her up from school and drag her half way across the world to Rio de Janeiro, her dream destination. Ella is convinced she's dying or one of her parents is and doesn't understand what's going on...but things are far more sinister than that.

On her travels, Ella meets Christian. She falls head over heels for Christian and I thought, "holiday romance, we've all had those" but Ella and Christian's feelings are so raw and real; you believe every word that comes out of their mouths. Their blossoming romance was one of my favourite parts of the story...and I'm not a gushy person at all. Ella has always seemed like a reserved person, who's trying so hard to keep who she really is in but she can just be herself with Christian and that's what true love is.

When Ella discovers the true meaning of their trip to Rio, she can't handle that she now has a reason to why she has always had the threat of Bella and she runs away. Away from the madness and the chaos (no spoilers!) and finds a way to cope with it all.

I don't want to say where Ella's journey goes from there but it's absolutely beautiful and heartwarming as Ella searches for a way to make herself feel content again, in a country that she has always longed to be in.

I will admit, I despised Ella at first. Her actions were shocking and her thoughts were disturbing but when I started to understand why and how much she hated turning more and more into this unrecognisable person, you really sympathise with her. And isn't that the definition of a true heroine? Someone trying to better themselves and you understanding why.

I have to mention Fiona. Fiona is Ella's parent and I have more respect for her than anyone in this book. Throughout the book, she does her utmost to keep her family together and the last two pages of the book had me in absolute pieces. I can't say too much more without spoiling it, but I'd go as far to say that she was my favourite character in the book.

This book is fast-paced, unputdownable and just another brilliant thriller from Emily Barr. It's packed with twist and turns around every corner and although this book isn't released until January, it's definitely worth the wait.

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