cover image Sarah and the Naked Truth

Sarah and the Naked Truth

Elisa Carbone. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-375-80264-5

Fans of Starting School with an Enemy may well be disappointed in this middling sequel. Truth-telling is at the center of Carbone's meandering story, as fifth-grade Sarah and her friends, Christina and new neighbor Olivia, each grapple with a deceit of sorts. Soon after her mother cuts short Sarah's bubble-gum matted hair, the girl attends basketball tryouts, which, unbeknownst to her, is for a boys-only team. Incredibly, she plays on the team without realizing that the coach and her teammates don't know she is a girl. After discovering their misconception, Sarah decides to wait it out, but must come clean with the ""naked truth"" just before the team sets out on an overnight trip (during which the coach plans to throw the team into the shower). Meanwhile, Olivia, a recent arrival from Trinidad, finally reveals to her new best friends that she wears an artificial leg. With uncharacteristically obvious jokes, the author stretches her truth theme too thin. Despite the convincing dialogue that recommended the first episode starring Sarah, this novel, if truth be told, hits a few too many false notes. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)