I read Sarah Jamila Stevenson's The Latte Rebellion earlier this year and enjoyed it. When I discovered she had a new book coming out this year that took place in Wales and had a ghostly element to it, I couldn't wait to read it. The Truth Against the World delivered nicely on its promise.
When Olwen Nia Evans learns that her family is moving from San Francisco to Wales to fulfill her great-grandmother's dying wish, she starts having strange and vivid dreams about her family's past. But nothing she sees in her dreams of the old country--the people, the places--makes any sense. Could it all be the result of an overactive imagination . . . or could everything she's been told about her ancestors be a lie?
Once in Wales, she meets Gareth Lewis, a boy plagued by dreams of his own--visions he can't shake after meeting a ghost among the misty cairns along the Welsh seaside.
A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans.
Wyn is fascinated by the history and folklore of her great-grandmother's native Wales. She has grown up listening to the stories and hanging on every word. She even recently began trying to learn to speak Welsch. Gee Gee's dying of cancer and wishes to return to her homeland one more time and it Wyn and her parents are taking her. Wyn is deeply upset by Gee Gee's impending death. They are very close. This is what I really loved about this novel. I liked Wyn's relationship with Gee Gee, her relationship with her parents (even when strained), and father's relationship with his grandmother. This book is all about the ties of family and history, how those things affect our present and future. Stories that explore these things are favorites of mine and I think Wyn is an excellent character for exploring them with. Gareth Lewis, the boy who finds Wyn online after having a disturbing encounter with a ghost bearing her name, is also an excellent character for this. His great-grandfather lives in the same town Gee Gee is from. He and Wyn have an eery amount of things in common, including the strange things that are happening to them. I appreciated how genuine both of these characters read. They are both only 15 and their parents are heavily involved in all of their decisions and actions. The interactions between both teens and their parents are ones that occur in households the world over every day. They both sound young, because they are young, though intelligent.
This is a slower story. It unfolds piece by piece. Don't go into this expecting to get a thrilling tale of creepy hauntings with twists on every page. It is not that sort of book. The mystery that Wyn and Gareth are unraveling is not all that difficult to figure out as an outsider (and an adult), but I thoroughly enjoyed watching them make the discovery themselves at the same time discovering each other, the town of their heritage, and the past. If you enjoy the sort of book that does all of these things well, this is one you should definitely pick up.
I read an e-galley received from the publisher, Flux, via NetGalley. The Truth Against the World goes on sale June 8th.