The Truth and Lies of Ella Black
by Emily Barr1 out of 5
Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .
Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.
And realises her life has been a lie.
Her mother and father aren't hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they'll never think to look - the favelas.
But there she learns a terrible secret - the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .
Ella is constantly trying to suppress her dark half Bella, but soon relies on her, when she ventures out into the dangers surrounding Rio. They both agree that they have to escape the lies of their life.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Where to start...
Ella is a brat.
I almost DNFed within the first ten pages, the writing didn't appeal to me at all. And Ella is quickly established as a spoilt, immature, self-centred brat.
Yes, she has a dark side, which she calls Bad Ella - or Bella. Bella is always on the fringe of Ella's conscious, trying to claw control. Ella has to fight daily to keep Bella in check, so she doesn't harm the people Ella loves. Ella has to vent Bella's destructive nature, by torturing injured birds, and destroying her favourite artwork.
Unfortunately, the "good side" Ella is a horrible, whiny individual. She's constantly whining, expects everything, is horrid to her parents for no reason. (She thinks her parents are secretly divorcing, and all she can think about is how it'll impact her, and how they should just get it over with).
Ella's thoughts always goes off on a tangent, as she muses about all sorts of shit. Oh, I'm sure when I was a 12 year old emo, I would have thought it very deep and meaningful. Here and now, she just comes off as pretentious and obnoxious.
Once she gets to Rio, she's even worse. I felt so sorry for her parents, as their whiny little twit of a daughter went from snapping at them for keeping secrets; to giddily demanding everything she could get.
Then she sees Christian, and I nearly stopped reading again. There was eye contact across the lobby, and Ella suddenly knew that he was the guy that featured in every painting and dream she had ever had.
One of the worst cases of instalove I've read.
Ella goes from never been kissed, to wanting to have sex with him, and sharing all of her darkest parts (including Bella - she hadn't even told her best friends about Bella).
Ella decides she's going to the Favelas despite being warned that they can be dangerous for tourists. Because, y'know, foreign teenage girl wandering on her own for the first time, nothing could possibly go wrong.
The plot was... ugh. It was OK. It was highly-fanciful at best.
It just wasn't strong enough, and never compete against the character-driven story.
Unfortunately, our all-consuming main character was a relentlessly annoying brat.