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The Truth Commission
Cover of The Truth Commission
The Truth Commission
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A Book Riot Best Book of 2015 So Far Four starred reviews! "Susan Juby's The Truth Commission knocked my socks off. You should read it!"—Gayle Forman, best-selling author of If I Stay "Susan...
A Book Riot Best Book of 2015 So Far Four starred reviews! "Susan Juby's The Truth Commission knocked my socks off. You should read it!"—Gayle Forman, best-selling author of If I Stay "Susan...
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  • A Book Riot Best Book of 2015 So Far

    Four starred reviews!

    "Susan Juby's The Truth Commission knocked my socks off. You should read it!"—Gayle Forman, best-selling author of If I Stay

    "Susan Juby is a marvel. Wise, witty, and full of heart, her writing draws you in and won't let go. And just when you think it can't get any better, it does."—Meg Cabot

    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.

    * "With a deft hand and an open mind, Juby presents many layers of truth. This is a sharp-edged portrait of a dysfunctional family with some thought-provoking ideas about what is real." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
    * "A surprising, witty, and compulsive read." —School Library Journal, starred review

    * "Hilarious, deliciously provocative and slyly thought-provoking."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    * "Juby's bright dialogue and vivid, appealing characters draw readers along as the three young artists navigate truths both light and dark, discovering themselves in the process."—The Horn Book, starred review

    * "A smart, savvy YA novel about what constitutes the truth; its ideas will linger long after the last page."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

    "I absolutely loved The Truth Commission. Every page made me laugh aloud, while all the time the tears were creeping up on me. The characters are so real that I wouldn't be surprised if they knocked on my door right now. I hope they do, I want to spend more time with them."—Jaclyn Moriarty, author of The Year of Secret Assignments and A Corner of White
    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    AUTHOR'S NOTE

    First let me say that this will not be an easy tale to tell, so I'll warm up with an author's note. That's one of the great things about creative nonfiction. You can write forewords and author's notes, prologues and prefaces before you start the actual story. They are the writing equivalent of jumping jacks and shadow boxing. Fiction writers are supposed to get right to it. Visual artists have it even worse. Most assume no one will read their artist statements before looking at their art. Michelangelo didn't write a preface about where he got the stone for David or an author's note about why he decided to make David's hands so big and his . . . well, never mind.

    But authors expect responsible nonfiction readers to read every word. They get to tell the reader what she's going to read, as well as why and how it was written. So here goes:

    This is my Spring Special Project for the second term of grade eleven.

    The story that follows covers the period from September until November of last term. I can't believe all this happened so recently. It feels like a thousand years have passed.

    Here's how this project is supposed to work: Each week I will write and submit chapters of my story to my excellent creative writing teacher.1 She will give me feedback on those chapters the following week. I will write as if I do not know what will happen next—as if I'm a reporter, which is a device used in classic works of creative nonfiction.2 When the whole manuscript is done, my teacher will share it with the project's second reader, Mr. Wells, Prince Among English Teachers. When those two arbiters of taste, style, and content sign off on what I've written, I will have my mark for the Spring Special Project. Et voilà! as we've been taught to say in French class.

    What else do I need to say in order to begin? This might be the time to bring up my use of footnotes.3 I know not everyone loves them. When we read that heavily footnoted David Foster Wallace essay about going on a cruise,4 students were divided. Some of us loved the footnotes because they were funny and informative and demonstrated DFW's virtuosic vocabulary. Some of us thought they distracted from the main text and were annoying. Still others of us never do the class readings and so really shouldn't get to have an opinion.5 I don't want to test the reader's patience too much, so here's what I propose.

    I will use footnotes to address my editor. I may also use them to include things that a) are interesting, and b) don't really fit in the main text, but nevertheless seem important. I may decide to stop using them partway through the story. Who knows what will happen? My random approach to footnotes might help build tension, which is a very big deal in fiction and in nonfiction. I might also decide to add illustrations and doodles in or near the footnotes. (Readers who are not giving feedback and assigning marks to this project can skip the footnotes, but those readers will be missing interestingness, diversity, and art, and those are things no one should ever miss.)

    Finally, and even though this is an author's note and not acknowledgments,6 I would like to take this opportunity to thank the powers that be at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design for allowing me to write a nonfiction manuscript for my Spring Special Project. I know other students here at Green Pastures are doing things like creating life-sized replicas of NASA's Opportunity rover out of circuit boards, old washing-machine parts, and antique fish tanks, and weaving huge wall hangings featuring images of our prime minister clinging to Parliament's Peace...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 2, 2015
    In a story framed as a creative nonfiction assignment (complete with footnotes), Normandy Pale, a student at a prestigious fine arts high school, recounts the often harrowing and sometimes hilarious events of the first semester of her junior year. It all begins when Normandy
    and best friends Dusk and Neil form a “Truth Commission” in order to answer some pressing questions. Why did their pretty classmate Aimee get plastic surgery? Why is school secretary Mrs. Dekker so grumpy? Is Tyler Jones really gay? The trio’s strategy is straightforward: just ask the persons in question. Some are relieved to confess to the Commission, yet Normandy resists investigating the biggest mystery in her life: why has her sister, a famous graphic novelist, dropped out of college and returned home? With a deft hand and an open mind, Juby (the Alice trilogy) presents many layers of truth while evoking Normandy’s pain over being the subject of ridicule in her sister’s books. This is a sharp-edged portrait of a dysfunctional family with some thought-provoking ideas about what is real. Ages 14–up. Agent: Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists.

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