Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Title: The Truth Commission
Author: Susan Juby
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Open secrets are the heart of gossip—the things that no one is brave or clueless enough to ask. That is, except for Normandy Pale and her friends Dusk and Neil. They are juniors at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design, and they have no fear.

They are the Truth Commission

But Normandy’s passion for uncovering the truth is not entirely heartfelt. The truth can be dangerous, especially when it involves her brilliant older sister, Keira, the creator of a bestselling graphic novel series, who has left college and come home under mysterious circumstances, and in complete silence.

Even for a Truth Commissioner, there are some lines that cannot be crossed…

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 first page.

When I first heard about Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission, I was seriously intrigued. It didn’t sound like anything else out there, while at the same time appealing to the contemporary nerd that I am. Though the style did take some getting used to, The Truth Commission is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Everyone has secrets. It’s a fact. It’s what leads to so much gossip. And though people know others are keeping secrets, most of the time, they prefer guessing and gossiping than actually asking the truth. But Normandy, Dusk and Neil have had enough of all the secrets and all the guessing about people’s secrets. The three of them make it their mission to seek out the truth, no mater what. And that’s how the Truth Commission is born. At first, it all goes well and Normandy, Dusk and Neil get a high from asking for the truth point blank. But sometimes, as the three soon discover, there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed even when on a mission to uncover the truth.

I’m not going to lie, The Truth Commission kind of threw me when I first started reading. I knew from what I had been told by others that this wasn’t a typical book, but it still took some getting used to. This book is fiction, but it was written as if it were a work of creative nonfiction written by the main character. Confused, yet? Because I was a little confused when I first started reading. For the most part, you can read this book like you would any other book. But because it’s written as if it were nonfiction, there are footnotes thrown in to the mix. At first it felt like right when I was getting into the story, I would get pulled out because I had to go read a footnote. And it’s not like I could skip the footnotes, because they did add to the story, often providing background information about some of the characters and events. Once I got used to them, they didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, there were times when I was looking forward to reading the footnotes because of the insights that Normandy provided in them. Beyond just the different format for the story, The Truth Commission went a lot deeper than I thought it would. Based on the synopsis, I knew that there were definitely going to be some issues brought up throughout the story, just not to this extent. And that was most definitely not a bad thing. The fact that the story went deeper is what led me to love it as much as I did.

Normandy was a really fun character. Though t the same time, she was also sort of the author. She has such a fun voice, and she wasn’t afraid of being completely and brutally honest with her reader (truth is kind of a recurring theme with this book, in case that wasn’t obvious). It just made it interesting to read a story where the main character and narrator doesn’t hold anything back. Now if she had been as honest with the people in her life as she was with her readers, she could have avoided a lot of the problems she ran into. But then there wouldn’t have been a story, so maybe not. Other than Normandy, the other characters also felt completely fleshed out. I could easily picture them all. And they were all so fun and quirky and unique. I loved reading about Neil and his obsession with 70s movies and fashion, Dusk’s determination to be exactly the opposite of what her parents wanted her to be. And don’t even get me started on Keira. There is so much I could say about her, but that would mean spoiling one of the major twists in the story so I’ll stay quiet. 

Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission was an absolutely fantastic read. It’s completely different from other contemporary YA stories out there in the best way possible. If you’re looking for something a little different and a little offbeat, I can’t recommend this one enough.

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