cover image The Truth Commission

The Truth Commission

Susan Juby. Viking, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-46877-2

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. (Apr.)