A review by nahyee
My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace


Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for this advance review copy. This title is planned for publication in October 2018.

"My Whole Truth" by Mischa Thrace is a first-person narrative of Seelie (Cecelia) Stanton. When we meet Seelie, she has just been attacked by Shane Mayfield, the older brother of a classmate. Seelie killed Shane in self-defense, but with Shane's father being a judge in their relatively small town, Seelie finds herself facing murder charges.

The beginning of this book grabbed me, and if it had held me, it would have gotten a 5-star review. It is well-written in the voice of a 17-year-old girl who doesn't fit in with her classmates and has the typical teenage chip on her shoulder. She relies heavily on her three closest friends, but we only scratch the surface with them. Perhaps this is a result of the story being from Seelie's point of view, but I have read other books where I have gotten to know the secondary characters even through the main character's lens. Seelie also has an extremely acrimonious relationship with her widowed mother, who is portrayed as a workaholic who doesn't care about Seelie at all. Their lack of a relationship doesn't add anything to the story line. I would have liked to see it develop over the course of Seelie's trial.


Where I struggle with this book is Seelie's inability to confide in even her closest friends about what really happened to her. Throughout the beginning of the book, Seelie hints at the fact that she was sexually assaulted. I know it was meant to be this shocking twist, but I suspected early on that Seelie was going to wind up pregnant as a result. It's really the only way that she can be found not guilty since she didn't tell anyone and there wasn't any evidence collected. But I also find it hard to believe that the doctors and the detectives wouldn't have asked about whether there was a sexual assault. During trial, Seelie, admits that she killed Shane after he raped her, so I would assume his pants would have been undone. It should have been an obvious question, And when Seelie DID confide in one of her friends that she planned to get an abortion, it is the friend who is super religious and doesn't believe in abortion. And she doesn't tell the other two friends. For someone who claims these are the only people she can rely on, she doesn't give them much credit.

Seelie also finds herself to be a victim of bullying as a result of the charges. Shane was well-loved in the community, despite the fact that he had a history of being a delinquent. However, Seelie doesn't call the police when her car is vandalized, and the school administration doesn't do anything when either Seelie's locker or car are vandalized. When she and her friends confront the principal about it, he admits he suspects who it is but can't do anything unless they're caught in the act. Well, they could certainly keep an eye out! Another facet of the bullying appears to come from an English teacher who has lessons in class around developing arguments for and against a murder suspect in a fictional case. I find it hard to believe that any teacher would continue with a lesson like that when there is a student in a similar situation. It just seems hard to believe that the ENTIRE school is against Seelie, with the exception of her three friends.

FInally, there is a girl who was also assaulted by Shane, who leaves a note in Seelie's locker thanking her for what she did since Shane had hurt others in the past. When Seelie discovers who it is and approaches her about it, the girl tries to deny it, then tells Seelie the truth but swears her to secrecy. Seelie keeps her secret (because it's not Seelie's story to tell), but it never comes out after the fact. I thought it would end up being a part of the court case, to corroborate Seelie's story. I really didn't see the point in including it in the book at all.

All in all, this book quickly went from a potential 5-star down to 2. And I actually wouldn't recommend it for high-school-age readers because of the combination of elements. This would totally have been an R-rated movie, but even those require being accompanied by an adult. It would really bother me if I had a teenage child reading this without a parent.