Guest Review: The Truth Commission

The Truth Commission, Susan Juby

Published April 14th 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: ALA Midwinter Meeting


From Goodreads:

This was going to be the year Normandy Pale came into her own. The year she emerged from her older sister’s shadow—and Kiera, who became a best-selling graphic novelist before she even graduated from high school, casts a long one. But it hasn’t worked out that way, not quite. So Normandy turns to her art and writing, and the “truth commission” she and her friends have started to find out the secrets at their school. It’s a great idea, as far as it goes—until it leads straight back to Kiera, who has been hiding some pretty serious truths of her own. 

Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission: A story about easy truths, hard truths, and those things best left unsaid.

Guest book reviewer reporting! I am not going to lie (no pun intended, okay maybe it is), I don’t read often anymore, but when I do it takes me a while to finish a book. I borrowed this book from Amanda yesterday to read while my fiancé got his teeth cleaned at the dentist. It was a long appointment, but not long enough for me to finish this book, so I stayed up late (which I never do) and finished it.

From Amanda, I requested something young adult and anything BUT nonfiction. As I began reading, it turned out to be narrative non-fiction. I enjoyed the narrator, Normandy Pale, and her style of writing, but I hated that she included footnotes. I think they take away from reading a story, but I like that Normandy recognized that there are some people, like me, who skip footnotes. (Is her last name an allusion to Beyond the Pale, I don’t know because I can’t remember the Kipling story as well as I used to…)

The Truth Commission started out when Aimee, a fellow classmate, arrived at school with new breasts and a new nose. Normandy and her best friends, Neil and Dusk, started gossiping to each other about Aimee’s features, like any high schooler would do. Neil went up to Aimee and straight out asked her the truth about her new features. From that point, the three friends set out to ask truths about other students and faculty members. While Neil and Dusk found the truth to be freeing and exhilarating, Normandy had some trouble with asking people for the truth.   I don’t want to give too much away, but the novel itself ends up being Normandy’s truth, her way to break out of her sister’s shadow, and a way to show the world that she is not a dimwitted ugly character as she is portrayed in her sister’s famous graphic novel.

Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but Kiera is a character that I ended up hating and for good reason. Normandy’s parents were somewhat not believable or just in denial. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and give it 4 stars. I also read the advanced copy, so I would like to find out if anything changed

Thank you Stephanie!

Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

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