Reader Reviewed The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

Written by Emily Barr

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

January 2018 Book of the Month

This twisting tale of shady secrets, a destructive alter ego and a feverishly fast-tracked romance will leave fans of psychological thrillers reeling, as 17 year-old Ella Black is taken on a terrifyingly transformative journey from suburban Kent to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Aspiring artist Ella has long lived with a secret. She’s plagued by violent impulses from an inner demon she’s named Bella, Bad Ella. And then, out-of-the blue, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro, and she suspects that something is seriously wrong. Her worries are somewhat offset when she instantly falls for Christian, a Cuban American vacationing in Rio, but then, as Ella lies to her parents about him, she discovers that her entire life is a lie. Knowing that her parents have deceived her is upsetting enough, but the truth is even more disturbing, and so she flees and finds herself in an inconceivably precarious situation. While the real-world dangers are bad enough, the deepest danger is the monster buried in Ella’s past, a monster that’s just resurfaced. Driven by Ella’s intense, in-your-face first person narrative, this is a rollercoaster ride of a read for those who like their thrillers to have an outlandish edge. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Humaira Kauser, age 19 - 'It was a pleasure to read The Truth and Lies of Ella Black...I love Emily Barr's distinct writing style and I cannot wait to read whatever she writes!'
  • Izzy Read, age 17 - 'It is packed to the brim with emotion, it captured my heart from beginning to end.'
  • Aimee Sweet, age 16 - 'The plot is intriguing and immersive, with extraordinary character development that makes the impossible events that occur seem realistic. This is the first book that I have ever read that grew on me after each turn of the page, and by the end I just couldn’t put it down.'
  • Kate Y8 Thorp Academy - 'I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Truth and Lies of Ella Black because it was very fast paced and gripping...Emily Barr is a brilliant author and I cannot wait to read more of her books.'    
  • Alice East, age 13 - 'The Truth and Lies of Ella Black is a very different sort of book from ones I have read because of the interesting setting and plot.  The plot was brilliantly thought out, however the book started to get a bit slower towards the end.'
  • Abbie Bavister, age 15 - 'Gripping story line although far-fetched at times, highlighted the good and bad in people.  Good imagery and sense of adventure.I enjoyed this book.'
  • Erin Huxley, age 12 - 'the end is rather interesting and I am hoping for a second'
  • Amelia White, age 18 - 'I never wanted to put the book down! It was full of twists and turns that really kept me drawn to the book.'   
  • Chloe Shortall, age 21 - 'other readers who enjoy quick paced novels with a plot twist ending may enjoy it.'
  • Lola Bridgeman, age 20 - 'Ella Black is a wonderful and heartbreaking story of family, identity and belonging. Twisty and mature it is better for older readers.'

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The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

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 . . .


Barr is superb at evoking the heightened emotions of adolescence: the exhilarating thrill of first love, the intensity of fear and rage at adults

's own identity.

About the Author

Emily Barr

Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, which gave her an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, an adult thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and she has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is her first novel for young adults. She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children.

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Book Info


352 pages


Emily Barr
More books by Emily Barr

Author's Website


Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd January 2018




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