This is My Truth by Yasmin Rahman
Release Date: July 22, 2021
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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?
This Is My Truth hit me in a way that I was not expecting. Rahman's writing style is easy flowing and I quickly became engaged with the characters. They feel very realistic, which makes the issues addressed in this book even more raw and real. The way that it handles domestic abuse, especially the attitudes towards the topic in the Muslim community, opened my eyes further to how complex these situations can be. The book shows the cycle of abuse, of the bad nights with Amani's dad and how he manipulates her mum and the family by the morning with gifts and smiles. It's painful to see Amani's mum so isolated with no one to turn to, not even her family, because of the fear of being blamed for the abuse or even just being told that it is normal. At times this was a very difficult read, but it is so so important that stories like this are told. I feel like I learnt a lot from this book.
Amani and her family are Bengali and I loved reading about the culture woven into this book. I enjoyed the different dynamics in Amani's life including her relationship with her brother, with Huda, and her fears and worries about her dad's pressure on her to follow a certain career path even though her heart is not in it at all. There were also moments with Huda's foster family where Amani witnesses their happy moments and seemingly normal life, and I felt heart cracking all over. The emotions that are packed into this book made me speechless. I was crying every few chapters.
Amani and Huda's friendship was also at the heart of this book and I loved reading about them and how protective they are over each other. These characters go through their own emotional struggles and they grow so much over the course of the book.
This Is My Truth held my attention from beginning to end. It broke my heart so many times over and put it back together again. If you are looking for a hard hitting read this summer I would recommend you pick this up. It made me smile on one page and put me in pain by the next. I will be thinking about this book for a long time! I also can't wait to pick up Rahman's previous book All the Things We Never Said.
Trigger warnings: racism, domestic abuse, foster care issues
5 Falling Books
Thank you to Molly at Hot Key Books for sending a copy for review!