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The Truth Paperback – February 2, 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Chris Russo wakes up in a dark basement tied to a chair. He is being held captive by Derek Brannick, who demands the truth about the shooting death of his younger brother Caleb at Chris's hands. He threatens to cut all of Chris's fingers off with garden shears if not told the truth. Eight nights ago, Caleb broke into Chris's home. Chris felt he had no choice but to shoot him in self-defense to protect his mom and younger brother, Devon. He appointed himself the man of the house after his police officer dad was killed in the line of duty. He focused his life on Devon's Little League games and overall well-being. He became an overnight local hero for shooting Caleb, whom he learned was a 13-year-old runaway. The teen was instantly invited into the popular cliques and received by his crush Rita before his kidnapping. Chris eventually tells the truth, and the reveal will be unexpected for readers. This YA thriller by Edgar Award nominee Johnston often feels predictable and redundant. Some readers may have issues with the background roles that the parents have. Detective Fyfe may be accused of perpetrating dirty and crooked police stereotypes. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy edgy thrillers.—Donald Peebles, New York Black Librarians Caucus


"A tough, fast, twisty little brawler of a book."" - Booklist

"This captivating thriller keeps the pacing fast, the tension high, and the emotions raw" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Recommended for readers who enjoy edgy thrillers" - School Library Journal

"An excellent novel that will keep the reader going and guessing up until the very end."
" - VOYA Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492623202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492623205
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I received this book free from NetGalley, it does not change my opinions at all!

Sometimes telling the truth is hard, especially when it has to do with murder or death. Then, the truth seems like the opposite of what you really want to say if you had something to do with that death. But I guess the truth will come out easier when there’s a threat. When you have something to motivate you, this is The Truth. Lies are punished, simple as that.

Okay, first of all, how awesome does that sound? The Truth sounds like the movie The Gift, both give me a black and white, high contrast vibe that just gives you chills and horrifies you. Was, The Truth what I thought it was? Was it? Read on to find out!

What I Liked:
The summary of The Truth really dragged me in. What’s better than a mysterious summary which promises deep secrets that MUST come out? Uh…let me think…NOTHING!!!!!!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHH *strokes evil kitten*
*Ahem* anyways The Truth starts off tense, it stays tense, gets a bit sad, then tense again. It’s a never ending roller coaster ride that goes up and down and leaves you thinking. When it came to The Truth I kept wondering if there would be a twist ending. Something you’d never expect happening…and…it…well. I can’t tell you if there was a twist but the ending was good. SUPER GOOD! I kept thinking back to it and almost laughing because that’s how great it was.
Jeffry W. Johnston (the author :) ) writes The Truth between the points of views of Now and Then. He writes the past and present so well it almost blends together like the main character is really traveling back to the past, wading through his memories. Seriously, I loved it!

What I Didn’t Like
Some parts felt slow, but it progresses.

In A Nutshell
The Truth was super good. The ending was amazing (seriously I think it was my favorite part!) It was intense and awesome and I so recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
With The Truth, Jeffry W. Johnston manufactures a mirror that reflects boys on the brink of manhood in contemporary society. Personality and motivation are unveiled with psychologist-like acumen via actions and reactions that are accessible to teen understanding. Two sets of brothers. Two sets of circumstances. Two absent fathers. And two gun shots. Think you can connect the dots? Think again.

In the same way that Laurie Halse Anderson opened new dialogue with Speak, Johnston slices into raw reality with The Truth. School Librarians are advised to read this book before determining shelf placement in Middle vs. High School collections.

Wrought with tension, The Truth immediately abducts readers attention with its stark setting: a basement, duct tape, garden shears and interrogation. Short chapters alternating between “Then” and “Now” rapidly advance readers through the series of events surrounding the shooting of 13-year-old Caleb Brannick. This book will appeal to and satisfy reluctant readers, but this is not a simplistic book. Walter Dean Myers fans will welcome Johnston as a worthy voice for teens to follow. Lisa Brennan ~ Middle School Librarian
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Format: Paperback
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Pages: 240
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Summary (from Goodreads):

Lie, torture, kill—there's nothing Chris and Derek wouldn't do for their younger brothers…

When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much at stake…

Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn't deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother's killer is the only way to the truth, than he'll go to extremes. But Chris's truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives…

I requested this book because lately I have been enjoying mystery/thriller type books and I thought that this would be an interesting one. I did enjoy this book, but I didn't love it.

Chris and Derek are two seventeen year old boys who are looking out for their younger brothers for different reasons, but both apparently seem to be out of a sense of guilt they have for different reasons.

Chris's father died three years ago on the job as a police officer. He has spent the last three years being a father figure to his younger brother. Which I thought was kind of weird because they have a mom who is mostly present. She works, but she isn't really an absent parent. Their lives all seem to revolve around Devon and his love for baseball. But I found it really weird that Chris's mom basically lets Chris do the parenting to his younger brother rather than doing it herself.
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Format: Paperback
Snip, snip! I hear the sliding of the garden shears as he holds them close to Chris’ fingers. Strapped to a chair, Derek threatens to snip off a finger for every lie that comes out of Chris’ mouth. Derek wants details and Chris will supply them but just not every detail. The author had a wonderful way of bringing this story to life. Bringing together the present and the past, the story became urgent and I had a hard time putting this novel down once it got started. As Chris is strapped to the chair and he’s retelling his side of the story, I wondered just how things would work out. How would Derek know when Chris was lying? How impatient was Derek? How serious was his threat and what was the purpose of him doing this? So many questions were tumbling through my head and yet I didn’t want to rush through the novel and miss something. As we flashback to the “then” portions, we read about what actually transpired and what had made Derek become the offender. His brother Caleb was killed when he was found inside Chris’ home and Chris shot him. This is where the details get fuzzy and where you need to understand the parties involved. There is a commitment to family and to the ones you love that follows the individuals in this novel, this love runs deep and it hurts when they can’t abide by their obligations. As people fulfilled their own promises, it felt creepy with how far they would go in their attempts, their depth and their means showed just who they were. The story will grip you and you will want to know why, why is this so important and why hold back the details? What really happened that night in the kitchen? Some of it seemed so simple, yet we know our hearts can only carry so much. The ending, I was not ready for that but now, what can you do?
I received a copy of this novel from Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars
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