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?
A couple of years ago I read All the Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman and I was blown away by how hard-hitting, emotional and beautiful the book was. Also, I had the incredible chance to interview her about the book which opened my eyes to her writing style a lot. So, of course when I heard she would be releasing a new book I had to pre-order myself a copy. I read the book over the course of a couple of sittings and once again was blown away by how eye-opening, hard-hitting and emotional this book was. It is a difficult read but such an important read.
One thing I love about Yasmin’s writing is how well she writes friendships. A book where friendship is a main focus is a book I will gravitate towards. Yasmin writes friendships in a way where they feel so realistic and as though you are part of the friendship yourself. There is no sugar-coating about the difficulties that a friendship can have and we get to see first-hand the ups and the downs that the friends face. If you are looking for true-to-life and honest friendships in books you need to look no further.
Amani is such an incredible main character. We get to see her grow as a person through the awful things she is facing both at home and at school and watch her grow more confident in herself, her path and her ability to face challenges. Huda is also an amazing character, who is facing her own challenges and internal conflicts. We get to watch Huda grow as well which was wonderful to see as sometimes the side characters miss out on having a character developing journey. Together their complex personalities and internal conflicts make for such an excellent friendship with interesting dynamics. Also, Amani’s Ammi deserves an honourable mention in this because she is an incredibly inspirational character.
Yasmin Rahman does an extraordinary job of handling such fragile issues in a sensitive manner. This book in particular deals with domestic abuse, racism, child abuse, religious issues, cultural issues and foster care issues. All these topics are discussed in a sensitive way and you can tell that Yasmin has taken a lot of care and put a lot of thought into how she writes these topics. This book was incredibly eye-opening and has certainly given me a lot to think about.
I actually cried whilst reading this book during such a touching conversation between Amani and her media studies teacher. I had a very similar conversation with my own media studies teacher whilst doing my GCSEs so it really hit home for me. It shows the effect that some teachers can truly have on their students.
Overall, This Is My Truth is a powerful story that opened my eyes in such an important way. It deals with domestic abuse, bullying and a lot more in a honest, realistic, respectful and sensitive manner. Yasmin Rahman is such an outstanding author and one whose books I cannot recommend enough!