This Is My Truth by Yasmin Rahman
Published By: Hot Key Books
Released: 22nd July 2021
CAWPILE Rating: 9.0 / 5 ★
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Best friends Amani and Huda are getting nervous about their GCSEs – and their future beyond school, which they’re both wildly unprepared for. Shy, quiet Amani has an outwardly picture-perfect family – a father who is a successful TV presenter, a loving mother, and an adorable younger brother – while confident and impulsive
Huda has grown up with over-affectionate foster parents who are now expecting a baby of their own. Both girls are jealous of each other’s seemingly easy life, without realising the darkness or worries that lie underneath. Then Huda witnesses Amani’s father hitting her mother, and Amani’s biggest secret is suddenly out. As Amani convinces Huda to keep quiet by helping her with her own problems, a prank blog starts up at school, revealing students’ secrets one by one. Will this anonymous blogger get hold of Amani’s secret too? Will Huda keep quiet?
Trigger Warnings: domestic abuse, child abuse, violence, bullying, racism, living in care.
Amani and Huda are best friends and are both getting nervous about their upcoming GCSE exams and their future beyond the school gates. Shy Amani has a picture-perfect family, whereas confident Huda has grown up in care and now lives with her loving foster parents, who are now expecting a baby of their own. Both girls are jealous of each other’s lives, without knowing the darkness that lies beneath them. Then one day, Huda witnesses Amani’s father hitting her mother, and Amani’s darkest family secret is out. As Amani tries to stop Huda from spilling her secret, a blog starts up at school, revealing the deepest darkest secrets of students. Could this blogger be the one to spill Amani’s secret? and will Huda manage to keep quiet about Amani’s secret?
WOW! Yasmin Rahman has done it again! Having read her debut All The Things We Never Said a few years ago, I was eagerly waiting for her next book to drop. This Is My Truth is just as good, or even better than its predecessor and there’s no mistake in saying that this book will utterly destroy you emotionally. From the moment you start reading, you know you are going to be taken on a tear-jerking journey, and I must warn you now, that this book does deal with some pretty sensitive topics so do go into it ready to read some impactful, harrowing scenes.
Domestic abuse is one of the main topics featured within This Is My Truth, and some of the scenes were rather agonising to read, but it just hits home how the is happening in real life, and how issues like this should be being addressed through fiction. The way you see Amani try to hide what is happening is both heartbreaking and poignant, and you can tell how much she just wants her family to be the type you see in pictures. The happy family, the family that isn’t broken and the family that loves being together. The scenes where she and her younger brother Ismail are sheltering from the abuse that’s happening by watching films Amani has made is heartrending and turned me into a sobbing mess. You also get a look into how Amani’s mother is so desperate to leave her abusive husband but is terrified to due to her fear of what her family and friends would say and think of her. This gives us, the reader a real insight into Bengali culture and how community and reputation means everything.
Huda’s family life is the complete opposite of Amani’s, but we still see her struggle with the idea of her foster parents having a baby of their own. She had a lot of insecurities and struggled to think about what she wanted to do with her future. This could stem from the fact she grew up in care and was moved around a lot. All Huda wanted was to be the perfect daughter, and have what Amani had. You feel for Huda when she discovers Amani’s secret, as her best friend all she wants is for Amani to be happy and safe. The relationship between Amani and Huda was such a beautiful one, and you could tell how much of a bond they had. It was interesting to see how they dealt with their opposing opinions and their falling out. You could tell how much they both wanted to make up and work through their problems instead of hating each other and losing the trust and friendship of the other.
Rahman’s writing is gorgeous and is almost poetic at times, and this is one of the reasons why I struggled to keep my emotions under control when reading This Is My Truth. The writing style is so emotive and you can honestly feel everything these characters are feeling. You don’t want to put the book down, as you become so attached to the characters, also, and you feel so protective of them and just want to wrap them up in a big warm hug. It’s been a while since a book has made me feel so impassioned for both the characters and the plot. Rahman, I can tell is going to become huge in YA and her beautiful, passionate writing is why I think this.
This Is My Truth was a powerful, sensitive, gorgeous read that will leave you in tears. Everything about it was pure perfection, and the way it touches on delicate issues is admirable. Yasmin Rahman is cementing herself as one of my favourite YA authors, and I cannot wait to read what she writes next.