by Susan Juby
Illustrated by Trevor Cooer
The Truth Commission
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Kirkus (starred review)
Luann Toth, School Library Journal (starred review)
Jaclyn Moriarty, author of “The Year of My Secret Assignments” and “A Corner of White”
Susin Nielsen, author of “The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen” and “We Are All Made of Molecules”“You know how we have terms like "Dickensian?" I vote that from here on in we should also have "Jubyesque," to describe something particularly funny, offbeat and original. The Truth Commission is Juby at her best - I wanted to be at that school with those unique, flawed and utterly believable kids. It is a fantastic and highly original novel. I heart Susan Juby.”
Kim Carter in VOYA
Comic and irreverent, teen angst and teen art collide (I mean can you have one without the other?) in The Truth Commission. Younger sister Normandy Pale pales in comparison to her older, more talented, more artistic, and well known debut graphic novelist Keira. Teachers and students at Normanday's art school speak of Keira with hushed tones, reverence and awe in their voices. Keira sold her first graphic novel to a publishing house and made a fortune. When Keira comes home from her new school, Norm knows something is wrong, but is too afraid to ask. Their parents treat their oldest daughter as a reigning queen worshipping her every move and catering to her every need.
Normandy is best friends with Dusk (whose real name is Dawn, but she prefers the darker version) and dapper dresser Neil. All three attend a prestigious and expensive school of arts but Normandy is a scholarship student since her older sister is an art prodigy. The school probably is hoping the same holds true for Normandy. If you think high school is full of weird cliques, wait till you read about Green Pastures art school! There is a dragon (mean, pancho-wearing ostrich lover Mrs. Dekker in the front office, a kind counselor, and several strange artists (no surprise here) in residence.
The three kids decide that "the truth will set you free" and begin a campaign to have people tell their truths. It begins with Mrs. Dekker. Then the kids target a student that everyone has wondered about. He is a handsome loner whose movie star looks have everyone wondering whether he is gay or straight. The kids decide that they must find out or the sake of the truth.
Keira begins to spill the truth about what happened to her at school, but Normandy is afraid to hear the truth and she begins to investigate her sister on her own. Each student at school has a project to present at year's end and Normandy is presenting her work of creative non-fiction--which is what she is writing...and what readers are reading. I love the way the book works. Normandy slips in footnotes on nearly every page. I find that endearing and clever.
Highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature subject matter and some language.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
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