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When the Truth Unravels

Review

When the Truth Unravels

Elin tried to commit suicide. It’s a miracle that she survived. A month later, Elin is back at school and it’s time for senior prom. Her best friends, Ket, Rosie and Jenna, are determined to make prom the most exciting event of the year. They want to convince Elin that life is worth living. But at prom, Elin goes missing. Fearing the worst, her friends are desperate to find her. But they all have their own issues to deal with: Ket’s ex is blackmailing her with a secret he was never meant to know; Jenna is overwhelmed, and each day she is falling more and more apart; and Rosie is learning how to love. Told from the perspective of each girl, RuthAnne Snow's novel WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS brings secrets to light and teaches us that even though we grow up, our friends stay by our side.

Disclaimer! Do not read this book if suicide is triggering to you in any way. Elin’s attempted suicide is explicitly described --- the plotting, the act and the immediate aftermath. I am generally comfortable reading a lot of questionably dark things, and this was even borderline to me. Readers can skip the section about Elin’s suicide attempt but be warned that it is there. In all honesty, if suicide is too sensitive a topic for you, I wouldn’t read large chunks of this book. Other things to note before reading --- there is a lot of vulgar language, underage drinking, mentions of sex and borderline abuse (child and sexual).

"I’d say the plot of WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS doesn’t really pick up until about halfway through, but if you’re willing to read past that, the ending….was so incredibly heartfelt that it left me in tears.”

It took me forever to get into WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS. Since my friend group is four girls, I kept applying my own experiences with my friends to Elin, Jenna, Rosie and Ket, but they are nothing like my friends and me. Even though the characters had been friends for years, I felt like they were so awkward around each other that it was unrealistic. But that changed towards the end, with the help of the plot and secrets coming to light. I’d say the plot of WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS doesn’t really pick up until about halfway through, but if you’re willing to read past that, the ending is entirely worth it. The ending was so incredibly heartfelt that it left me in tears. By the end of the book, I was so enamored with the characters, and then after the conclusion I felt like I understood them even more. The characters talked like high school students, acted like high school students and dealt with issues high school students face. That made them relatable.

My biggest opposition to WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS was Ket. I loved her, don’t get me wrong. I loved that she was powerful and knew who she was, but was also sensitive and loyal. But as a promiscuous adopted Indian girl with two moms, I felt like she was the epitome of a diverse character. While diversity is amazing and more books should include diverse characters of color, Ket, as the only person of color, felt like the token minority. It would’ve been nice to see some more diverse characters so Ket’s diversity would feel less forced.

One of my favorite things about WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS was how it handled the discussion of depression. Depression is not just occasional sadness. It’s a real illness that affects real people. I think it’s important for teens to read about characters that de-stigmatize mental health discussions and realize that therapy and antidepressants are out there.

WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS is a good book for high school students on learning how to deal with pressure. It reminds us to talk to our friends, family and loved ones, and to know that we aren’t alone. This book has the comedy of teenagers trying to figure out what’s going on, with the seriousness of topics like mental health.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on January 29, 2019

When the Truth Unravels
by RuthAnne Snow