Four Long Island teens are obsessed with Fatima Ro, a bestselling YA author, and her book Undertow. When the teens meet Fatima at a book signing, they can’t help but gush, only to be further floored when she takes an interest in them. Miri, confident and self-possessed; Soleil, the ultimate fangirl; Penny, rich, but insecure; and Jonah, the enigmatic, new guy become disciples of Fatima’s philosophy about “precious truths” and “authentic connections.” Fatima encourages the teens to be honest and transparent with her, and in turn, she invites them into her home, doles out dating advice and, in Penny’s case, lets her cat sit. But Fatima has her own agenda—one that lands Jonah in the hospital and uses the other teens to advance her career. As noted on the cover of author Lygia Day Peñaflor’s meta novel, All of This Is True, what happens next will shock you.
This cleverly constructed story uses an atypical narrative structure, resulting in a mystery with a fresh twist. Told entirely through interview transcripts, journal entries, text messages and snippets from Peñaflor’s novel-within-a-novel, All of This Is True is meta without being confusing. What must have been a daunting creative undertaking for the author reads effortlessly. Peñaflor manages to propel her plot and deepen her characterization while tackling complex themes in a compulsively readable package resulting in a fantastic story that’s sure to be a bestseller.