Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review & Blog Tour: The Truth Commission by Susan Juby
The Truth Commission
by Susan Juby
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Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780451468772
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Source: Publisher

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Open secrets are the heart of gossip -- the obvious things that no one is brave or tactless enough to ask. Except for Normandy Pale and her friends. They are juniors at a high school for artistsl, and have no fear. They are the Truth Commission. Then, one of their truth targets says to Normandy: “If you want to know about the truth, you might want to look a little closer to home.”  This dryly funny, knife-sharp novel, written as "narrative nonfiction" by Normandy herself, features footnotes, illustrations and a combination mystery/love story that will capture readers from the frst page. (Goodreads)
When The Truth Commission first crossed my path, I was definitely intrigued. The synopsis for the book sounded really refreshing and unique, and I was really curious to check the book out.

The story is about a girl named Normandy, and her two best friends Dusk and Neil. Together, these three friends form a group called The Truth Commission. Why? Because they believe it is their destiny to bring some much-needed truth into a world that is full of lies. But does the truth come at a price??

The main characters in the novel were all very interesting and likable. Normandy was definitely the most relatable character in the story for me. While she wanted to go along with her friends to find out the truth, it didn’t always make her feel great to actually know the truth. Dusk and Neil were the exact opposite; they didn’t mind knowing the truth at all. I loved how they were all such really great friends; you could tell that they really cared about each other. There are some other really cool secondary characters in the book as well that I enjoyed reading about.

The writing style for the book was very intriguing. I can’t say that I’ve read any other books that have been written as narrative nonfiction, so that was definitely different for me. But it didn’t take me long to catch on to the writing style, and I really felt like so much more information was included this way. I ended up reading the story just like I would any other novel.

My only complaint about the book is about Normandy’s family. I so wish she had a better home life, but it almost seemed as though her parents didn’t really care about her and were not supportive of her at times, and would let the sister get away with whatever she wanted, just for the sake of her artistic talents. I especially disliked her sister; I absolutely could not stand her at all. This family just didn’t seem right to me.

Overall; I found The Truth Commission to be an interesting read. I enjoyed the writing style for the book, and the main characters were a lot of fun. While I did have a few issues with the book, I still found it to be an entertaining read.


Interview with Susan Juby:

Q. What inspired you to write The Truth Commission? How did you decide to write the book as narrative nonfiction?

A. I teach a course in narrative nonfiction and I’ve written a memoir. I thought it would be fun to create a novel written as though it was a piece of narrative nonfiction. In a sense, all first person narratives pretend they are creative nonfiction! The other thing that happened is that I was working on an adult crime novel and when I was about 200 pages into it I realized that I was using the story of someone close to me. I hadn’t even considered where the story was coming from. It was totally inappropriate and so I wondered what it would be like to live in the same family as someone who used all your stories no matter how you felt about it.

Q. Have you written other books in this style, or do you plan to in the future?

A.  I’ve written a memoir, which is a type of narrative nonfiction. I don’t think I’ll write any more novels structured this way, much as I loved the experience of writing this one.

Q. Will there be a sequel or companion novel for The Truth Commission?

A.  Right now I’m at work on a novel set at, or at least near, Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design. An art school like that would be fertile ground for many types of stories!

Q. Was there any particular inspiration for your main character, Normandy?

A. No one person inspired Normandy. Like all of my characters she has to deal with things I have trouble with. I don’t like conflict or confrontation and neither does she. But I make her face the truths she’s been avoiding far more quickly than I’ve had to do. I think we all have things in our lives, qualities, people, situations, that don’t serve us. It’s hard to admit that!

Q. Are there any similarities between you and Normandy?

A. She loves odd people and strange hobbies. So do I. That said, I wish I was as gifted as Normandy in the needle arts!

Q. What influenced you to become a writer?

A. I love books. Always have. I wrote my first novel when I was in second grade. It’s as simple as that.

Q. What is the most challenging part of writing?

A. Not giving up when I get stuck. There are lots of ways to get stuck. Sometimes I don’t know what’s going to happen next, or my characters get boring, or my arm hurts or I worry that a story is not good. Novelists have to keep writing until things improve. It can be hard but experience helps.

Q. Do you have any upcoming projects that we can look forward to?

A. Look for a new novel in fall 2016!

Q. What book(s) are you currently reading??

A. I’m reading a book called The Culture of Fashion by Christopher Breward. It’s for research.


About The Author:

Susan Juby is the bestselling author of the internationally popular Alice MacLeod books, which were made into a television series, and the critically acclaimed novels Getting the Girl and Another Kind of Cowboy. Her work has won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, been selected as a Children’s Book Sense Pick, a Kirkus Editor’s Choice, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and been shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, an Edgar Award, an Arthur Ellis Award, and the in Canada First Novel Award. Susan lives in Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, the setting for many of her books—including this one. Visit her online at, follow her on Twitter @thejuby, or check out her hilarious video series, “The Writer’s Life,” on YouTube.



«”Juby’s bright dialogue and vivid, appealing characters draw readers along.”–The Horn Book, starred review

« "A surprising, witty, and compulsive read.” – SLJ, starred review

« “This is a sharp-edged portrait…with some thought-provoking ideas about what is real.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

Available for Purchase:
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