The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Reviewed by Alyssa, Newington Library

I was really interested in the concept of this book. I hadn’t heard a ton of buzz about this title, but some from well trusted bloggers. It had also received four starred reviews of the potential of six from the major review journals. I was immensely intrigued by both the title’s theme of truth and the unique format.

The book is written as “creative nonfiction,” and is the main character, Normandy’s, junior project at the Green Pastures Academy or Art and Applied Design. The book comes complete with an excess of footnotes and some illustrations.

The unique format is great, but even better is the more lighthearted mix of friendship and humor alongside a darker mystery and the search for truth and justice at school and at home. Normandy and her friends form “The Truth Commission” a sort of club whose mission is to find the truth (while shedding light on important topics, i.e. feminism, why some truths are better left unsaid, and criticism of slut-shaming).

Away from the school setting, is Normandy’s sister, Kiera, a famous graphic novel writer and artist. Her only fault? Kiera’s stories are woven from truth and based on her family members, stories Normandy wished could stay private. Her sister has her own troubling secrets as well. Why did she come home from college early? Where does she go for days at a time? Why hasn’t she met her deadline for her next book?

All this summary aside, is it a Printz contender? I don’t think so. While it has a wide audience among teens, is diverse, is a book that will get teens talking, and is overall stellar, I don’t think it has enough “excellence” to be a winner. Put it on your list of “to read-s”, it’s well worth it!

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