Nothing But the Truth
Scholastic paperback
Nothing But the Truth
Orchard Books
Hardcover, 1991
Nothing But the Truth
HarperCollins paperback
 
more young adult
Nothing But the Truth

Patriotism or practical joke?

Ninth-grade student Philip Malloy was suspended from school for singing along to The Star-Spangled Banner in his homeroom, causing what his teacher, Margaret Narwin, called "a disturbance." But was he standing up for his patriotic ideals, only to be squelched by the school system? Was Ms. Narwin simply trying to be a good teacher? Or could it all be just a misunderstanding gone bad—very bad? What is the truth here? Can it ever be known?

Heroism, hoax, or mistake, what happened at Harrison High changes everything for everyone in ways no one—least of all Philip—could have ever predicted.

Behind the Book

Avi writes:

Writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Part of the answer is, in very odd ways.

Consider Nothing but the Truth. I like games. One day, while wandering about a flea market I chanced upon a game unlike any I had seen before: a boxed mystery game. When I opened the box it contained all the evidence of a crime in separate, replicated pieces. Here was a photograph. Here was a police report. Here was (in a little packet) a cigarette stub. Here was a written statement by a witness. And so on. You (like a detective) were supposed to sift through all this very real looking evidence—the legal term for evidence is “discovery”—and then decide who the villain was before opening a sealed envelope. Very clever.

Then, at another flea market, I came upon the same game in a completely different form. Here, all that discovery was reproduced as a book. Now you went through that evidence by turning pages. It was not like any book I had ever seen. It fascinated me.

Now, if you look at the way Nothing but the Truth is constructed, and think of it as a game, with each section like the evidence for a crime, you’ll see the connection between my book and that mystery game.

And guess what? When I first started on the book the working title I used was Discovery.

Awards and Honors

Garden State Teen Award, 1995
YALSA One of the Best YAs from the last twenty-five years, 1994
Arizona Young Readers Award, 1994
New York State Readers Award, 1994
Newbery Honor Book, 1992
Horn Book-Boston Globe Award Honor Book, 1992
ALA Notable, 1992
Best Books for Young Adults 1992, YASD
Editors' Choice 1991, Booklist
One of the Best Books of 1991, Horn Book
One of the Best Books of 1991, School Library Journal
Best Books of 1991, Publishers Weekly
American Booksellers Children’s Choice List, 1992
Best Books for Teens 1992, NY Public Library
NCTE Notable, Children's Trade Book in the Language Arts, 1992 Notable, National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book  Council, 1991
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Blue Ribbon Book
One of the Best Books of the Year, Banks St. Teachers College, 1992
Library Of Congress: Best Books for Children, 1992.
Starred Review, Booklist, 1991
Starred Review, Horn Book, 1992
Starred Review, School Library Journal, 1991
Starred Review, Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, 1991
Pointed Review, Kirkus Reviews, 1991
Horn Book, Fanfare Award, 1992

Review

Children’s Literature:

“… Avi shows how easily a simple act of defiance by a teenager can soon become the center of the political correctness debate waging in the United States. This is an interesting, and yet disturbing, story that captures the unfortunate reality of today's school system and the media frenzy around it. Although written for young readers, it is also a good read for parents and educators. As is typical of Avi, the writing is riveting and revealing.”

Books by Avi
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