I can bet that you have never met anyone like Billy Dean.
Like David Almond’s other transcendent novel, Skellig, The True Tale deals with a central figure who may or may not be divine. Billy, kept in a single room for the first 13 years of his life, is raised mainly by his mother, although is also sustained by increasingly infrequent visits from his angry, fervent priest of a father. Why Billy is hid away for so long is only slowly revealed through the course of the book, but (I think) is, when finally revealed, somewhat irrelevant.
What truly makes this novel, and the character of Billy Dean, so astonishing and unexpected is Billy’s own unique perspective on the world. Perhaps the most magical thing about him is the how he is able to effortlessly see beauty everywhere.
A word on the writing style – I was entranced by how Almond chose to portray this unusual story. Billy is the narrator of his own life, and not only that, but we truly read Billy’s voice. Written phonetically, the words and sentence structures help to transport us into Billy’s mind, as well as into the cadence of speech in the small-town, war-torn England of the book.
Check out this stunning novel by one of the leading YA authors out there; Billy Dean just might change your life.