Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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The Book of One Hundred Truths by Julie Schumacher

I imagined what it would be like if everyone had their own container of lies and once they filled it they wouldn't be able to lie anymore. My container was probably overflowing.

Lies come easy to Thea, rolling off of her tongue as smooth as butter. She doesn't mean to lie . . . or at least she doesn't lie to be mean. You see, something happened to Thea not too long ago, something she swore never to tell anyone else about - and she learned that in order to keep something a secret, you sometimes have to lie.

Every summer, Thea (short for Theodora Elizabeth) heads off to her grandmother's house and enjoys a few fairly quiet weeks at the beach. She's old enough to travel without her parents, but not without their reminders. This year, her mother presses a notebook into her daughter's hands and asks her to write down one hundred truths before her trip is over.

Thea figures out that she has to take note of four or five truths a day. That doesn't sound too bad. She thinks about things on the plane trip, then on the ride from the airport to her grandma's house while her two aunts have a fairly typical argument, figuring she'll have plenty of time to fill up her notebook while spending lazy days on the Jersey Shore by herself.

"Are you ready to face the crowd?"

When Thea arrives at her grandparents' home, she is surprised to see a dozen relatives residing there. Her grandma, Nenna, is as bubbly as ever; her grandad, Grenda, is suffering from Alzheimer's, notably quieter and slower-moving than before. There are the two arguing aunts, Ellen and Celia, who appear to be keeping some sort of secret from the rest of the family. There's her other aunt and her baby, plus four more cousins, two teenage boys who are busy with summer jobs, and two younger cousins who want to hang out with Thea.

She has to share the attic room with one of those little cousins, the bright seven-year-old Jocelyn. Naturally curious and compulsively tidy, her constant presence starts to stress out her put-upon baby-sitter, Thea. Jocelyn's own stress manifests itself in a skin rash called eczema. As the two girls spend more time together and try to figure out what their aunts are hiding, Thea begins to suspect that her cousin might be keeping a secret too.

Most people think there are only two kinds of lies: little white lies and all the others. But that isn't true. Lies come in a lot of different colors.

According to Thea, there are also blue lies (those which completely obvious) and pink lies (exaggerate) and green lies (inventive) and more. But the color of lie doesn't reflect its size nor its weight. When the truth - rather, truths - come out, Thea realizes how much the lies were weighing her down.

As she did with her previous books for young readers, Julie Schumacher has delivered a solid story for young readers. If you enjoyed THE BOOK OF ONE HUNDRED TRUTHS, make sure to pick up GRASS ANGEL and THE CHAIN LETTER. All of Schumacher's books resonate with kids, especially middle schoolers who are questioning everyone and everything around them.

Vote for this review, please!

Additional Tales of Truth:
Nothing but the Truth by Avi - Ages 10 and up
Truth or Dairy by Catherine Clark - Ages 12 and up
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley - Ages 12 and up
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen - Ages 14 and up
Tags: booklists, books, reviews

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