Friday, February 8, 2019

Blog Tour: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr with Q+A

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM

I started out working as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. I managed, somehow, to get commissioned to go traveling for a year, and came home with the beginnings of a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, a thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and I have since written eleven more novels published in the UK and around the world. I live in Cornwall with my partner Craig and our children. To learn more about Emily and her work you can visit her website here.

Title: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Mental Health
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication: February 12th 2019
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading Format: Provided ARC(thank you)

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr is a book about a girl who has two sides of herself. She has her normal, everyday personality and then she has this darker side the yearns to be let out. The older Ella gets the more this side rears its ugly head. We get to see how Ella and her alter ego, Bella, progress through life while reading this story.

Ella is one of those meek, quiet girls that people tend to pick on because she doesn't have the true ability to stick up for herself. I found that trait to be rather annoying but that is just my personal feelings on the matter. Aside from her meek personality, she seems to be a rather interesting girl. She is an artist and aspires to go to art school, she has two best friends and she seems to have a fairly normal home life. So what is so great about Ella that she gets her own book? Well, you see, Ella has Bella. Who is Bella? She is Ella's dark side that pushes its way to the surface and makes Ella so really horrible, unspeakable things. We all have a darker side, but Ella can't control hers.

One of Ella's big dreams is to be able to go to Rio. One day, while she is at school, her mother just shows up to take her away. Ella is told they are going to Rio because her father has a business trip but it is very quickly revealed that that is hogwash and they are going away because of Ella. It is not made abruptly clear WHY Ella is the cause of this sudden departure and we are pretty much left to make guesses for a little while.

The further I got into this book the more I started to realize that this wasn't what I was expecting AT ALL. It was so much more and so much better than anything I was imagining would happen with this plot. Every time I would turn the page I was thinking something would happen but instead of what I was thinking it would be something entirely different and I really enjoyed that. I know I am being vague but this is the kind of book where I could spoil it just by saying one wrong thing.

Having read and fairly enjoyed the authors previous book, The One Memory of Flora Banks, I knew that I was going to be in for some form of mental health plot but this one was a bit different from Flora Banks because we get to know right away that Ella has a problem and she is very vocal about it but that isn't the only thing that is different. As I said, I knew I was going to get some form of mental health issue but I was NOT expecting a psychological thriller and that made this book even better for me. We also got A LOT of stuff ranging from family, romance, and finding your true identity in both the dark and the light. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough but some of the parts did drag on. Some of the book was also confusing but that only happened a few times and it was resolved quickly. I did find myself getting frustrated at the beginning with how secretive her parents were being but these are all small things and they really didn't take away from the heart of the story. Just little things for me to nitpick over. Either way, this book was really unexpected, but in a good way. I never know what was going to happen and I had no idea where the author was going with the end and I love that aspect of the story. This is such a strong book and I think everyone should pick it up!

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.



Hello, all of my lovely readers. Please help me give a warm welcome to Emily Barr, author of The One Memory of Flora Banks and of course the book this post is for, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. 

Thank you so much, Emily for joining us for a fun little Q&A.


What is the hardest part about being an author? The easiest part?
The hardest part is writing the middle section of a book, in my experience. Writing the beginning is super exciting, and tying a story up at the end is wonderful, but the middle is often really difficult.

The easiest part: maybe when writing is flowing so well you just want to do nothing but write for ever. Also, when you actually get a copy of a book with your name on it! That part is amazing.

What are some of your favorite books and what makes them your favorites?
Some of my favorite books - that’s a lovely question! I love the books of Margaret Atwood: she has such a sharp eye for the best and worst of humans, and I love her writing and her storytelling. I also love Sarah Waters: her novel Fingersmith has the best twist I’ve ever read and I am in awe of her for being able to pull it off. Possibly my favourite book is The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. It’s a book about a priest who is sent to a planet that humans are starting to colonise, to preach to the aliens (who have asked for a priest). Meanwhile, his wife is at home, where civilisation is crumbling. It’s the most incredible, life affirming book in ways that are almost impossible to describe. Absolutely magical.

If you won the lottery and it was a very large sum of money but one stipulation of collecting the prize is you could never write again, would you take the money?
No I wouldn’t! I would try to be SO successful that I made that much money from my writing (a girl can dream).

I know it’s like asking which child you like best but, which book did you enjoy writing more, Ella Black or Flora Banks?
That’s an interesting question because they were so different. I wrote Flora Banks with no idea of whether anyone would ever publish it. I was multitasking with several jobs to pay the bills, and I was very stressed when I wasn’t writing! With Ella Black, that pressure wasn’t there. However, it is really difficult to answer, because although writing Flora was difficult, it changed my life. So can I answer by saying, both in different ways? (Just as I wouldn’t be able to give an answer about which of my children I like best!)

How do you personally feel about book reviewers/bloggers?
I think they’re great. When I started out, I was writing for adults in the UK, and book blogging didn’t really exist. Writers would just hope to have their books reviewed in the physical press. Now the whole process has been opened up and it’s an amazing transformation and democratisation. It’s wonderful to see so many talented, passionate people out there reading and writing. I absolutely love it. However, if I stumble on a bad review of one of my books I find it really upsetting so I tend to look away quickly!

And our last question for this little Q&A is... Are you currently working on any new books? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
Yes: my third YA book, The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, is finished and it’s going to be published in the UK in May of this year. It’s about a girl called Arty growing up in a tiny community in India that was set up by backpackers from all over the world in the nineties. A deadly disease hits her little village and she has to go for help. She’s never left her corner of the forest before, never seen electricity, never seen a car. And suddenly she’s trending on social media…

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